A lot is being discussed within the vein of red light cameras, everything from the validity to the technical aspects of the law; however, a recent ‘weigh-in’ came from an Engineer. This perspective sheds lights on real life versus what should transpire to the letter of the law – what does THAT mean?
A firefighter will tell you to feel a door prior to opening it, when traversing a building during a fire, but what if you we’re aware there was a fire? Shouldn’t we touch every door to see if it is hot AND to err on the side of caution? This methodology translates directly to the DESIGN of the intersection. The recent Engineer’s comments state we must stop TWICE – once at the Stop bar (white line) – look for pedestrians – and then move to a clear view of on-coming traffic in the intersection and stop again. I don’t know about you, but I have been rear-ended twice in my life. As a defensive driver, I send a clear signal by not proceeding or coming to a rolling stop – especially in the faster-paced, distraction-ridden, and ‘rule-ignorant’ driving public. We must be naive by virtue of the law itself; after all, do you stop TWICE?
As a Designer visual cues could be made must easier: simply place the stop bar, pedestrian crosswalk, and edge of the intersecting driving lane in concert with one another = ONE STOP, to both look for walkers and on-coming drivers. This ‘ease of solution’ places a walker +/- in concert with a bike lane – at busy intersections (with many bikers / walkers, this would need a closer attention to design to avoid conflicts) this is key to avoid rolling stops or, even worse, collisions with walkers/bikers that do happen frequently enough in Collier County. These accidents are most likely due to a driver’s attention being focused on the impending intersection and the future turn, most roll through a crosswalk altogether – take a right turn on red - in this instance, you may be looking left prior to your stop and never see a walker/biker coming from the right – this may or may not be your fault – however, with the overlay of rules for even the walker/biker, it gets complicated…all I’m saying is SIMPLIFY – co-mingle the uses into one, combined stop.
By the way, why are red light cameras ticketing right on reds in such frequency anyway – weren’t these installed to punish ‘red light runners’ – the ones we shake our heads at, as they fly through a red light…not stop, look, go, stop again – or come to a rolling stop. This waste of time could easily be ‘re-channeled’ into Design ‘re-evaluation.’ Take care while driving –