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Killer streetcars?

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  • Matt Hohmeister
    Let s say that our carfree city (based on Mr. Crawford s design) is going to have a streetcar system, due to a high water table, low population, or just
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 4, 2001
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      Let's say that our carfree city (based on Mr. Crawford's design) is
      going to have a streetcar system, due to a high water table, low
      population, or just preference of the population.

      (A note about that--when a group from my university was in Madrid, some
      students told me they preferred buses over the metro--despite the bus's
      obvious shortcomings--to allow them a view of the outdoors. I must
      admit that the newer sections of the Madrid metro--ie, in the suburbs--
      that ran outside were quite pleasant.)

      In any case, a streetcar track can be crossed when there's no
      streetcar, but, of course, the track has to be kept unobstructed.

      A major 3-lane road cuts through the center of my university's campus,
      much like the streetcar would cut through the center of each district
      of Carfree. Notice, however, the following differences:

      Road: every two minutes, you are given about 15 seconds of clearance to
      cross the street on a "walk" light, during which time you are *still*
      not guaranteed an unobstructed crossing, due to heavy traffic blocking
      the zebra, or due to drivers who disregard the red light.

      Streetcar: assuming that a streetcar comes every two minutes at the
      minimum, you have two minutes during which you are *guaranteed* that
      you can step into the track without being hit by a streetcar. Do y'all
      think that 30 seconds of blinking-light warning is enough to tell
      people to not cross the track? Safety-wise, considering how quickly the
      streetcars pass through, and how frequently they come, there would be
      less temptation to sprint across the track on a don't-walk light to
      catch the approaching streetcar--just wait two minutes. Go to an
      American city with a shoddy bus system, and you'll see what I mean:
      people sprinting into 5 lanes of traffic to catch a bus that won't be
      by for another hour.

      There's no such thing as completely fool-proof, and people have before
      been killed by streetcars (but not nearly as much as by cars). This is
      a tragic happening, and I would like to see as little as possible
      happen.

      Someone who's been to Strasbourg and used EuroTram, please answer this:
      looking at the picture of it at http://www.carfree.com/pax_trans.html,
      there is a slight curb to the track, much like on regular roads. Are
      there any wheelchair cuts along the way to allow wheelchairs,
      strollers, bicycles, and the elderly to cross? And what kind of warning
      do they have to an oncoming streetcar? (Of course, all this is null and
      void if the track area is a no-no zone--but it doesn't look that way in
      the picture.)
    • J.H. Crawford
      ... It has to be said that here in Amsterdam, pedestrians are struck by trams on occasion, especially tourists, who are not accustomed to their routes. The
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 5, 2001
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        Matt Hohmeister said:

        >Streetcar: assuming that a streetcar comes every two minutes at the
        >minimum, you have two minutes during which you are *guaranteed* that
        >you can step into the track without being hit by a streetcar. Do y'all
        >think that 30 seconds of blinking-light warning is enough to tell
        >people to not cross the track? Safety-wise, considering how quickly the
        >streetcars pass through, and how frequently they come, there would be
        >less temptation to sprint across the track on a don't-walk light to
        >catch the approaching streetcar--just wait two minutes. Go to an
        >American city with a shoddy bus system, and you'll see what I mean:
        >people sprinting into 5 lanes of traffic to catch a bus that won't be
        >by for another hour.

        It has to be said that here in Amsterdam, pedestrians are struck
        by trams on occasion, especially tourists, who are not accustomed
        to their routes. The reference design presented in the book calls
        for the central boulevard to be split if trams are to be used,
        so each half of the boulevard has a single track with trams
        running in only one direction. This eliminates the risk of crossing
        behind a passing tram only to blunder into a second, oncoming
        tram on the other track.

        >There's no such thing as completely fool-proof, and people have before
        >been killed by streetcars (but not nearly as much as by cars). This is
        >a tragic happening, and I would like to see as little as possible
        >happen.

        Generally, the risk is relatively low and considered acceptable.
        I still prefer metros, as they eliminate both this risk and
        the noise that even the quietest trams will make. (Alas, the
        trams here in Amsterdam are incredibly noisy due to poor
        maintenance.)

        >Someone who's been to Strasbourg and used EuroTram, please answer this:
        >looking at the picture of it at http://www.carfree.com/pax_trans.html,
        >there is a slight curb to the track, much like on regular roads.

        It's actually higher, about 14 inches (36 cm or so).

        >Are
        >there any wheelchair cuts along the way to allow wheelchairs,
        >strollers, bicycles, and the elderly to cross?

        I'm not sure, but I don't think so. The boarding platforms
        are fairly short, so it's possible to go around one end or the
        other.

        >And what kind of warning
        >do they have to an oncoming streetcar?

        Don't recall, I'm afraid.



        -- ### --

        J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
        postmaster@... Carfree.com
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