Perhaps the greatest impediment to walking and bicycling is auto traffic. Nationwide, about 6,000 pedestrians and bicyclists are killed annually by cars, and the No. 1 factor is speed.
For decades, traffic engineers built roads as wide and straight as possible, providing motorists the maximum margin for error. Instead, these roads simply encouraged motorists to drive faster.
Now American engineers are increasingly adopting a concept from Europe called “traffic calming” to use a variety of physical devices to force motorists to slow down. These include speed humps and bumps, and "deflectors," which narrow streets at certain points.
Perhaps the least expensive traffic calming device is the parked car. Motorists drive slowly through parking lots because they know pedestrians are present and that cars may back out of spaces at any time.
Pottstown installs bike lanes, back-in angle parking
Culminating a 17-year campaign, Pottstown became the first town in Pennsylvania to receive permission from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to install back-in angle parking on its main street, High Street, in May 2003.
The street was narrowed from two lanes in each direction to one lane in each direction. Back-in angle parking was installed on the north side of the street, adding 93 spaces -- a 25% increase in total spaces on High Street. Parallel parking was retained on the south side of the street. Five-foot-wide bike lanes were added on both sides of the street.
The new scheme has helped revitalize the downtown by slowing traffic, providing more parking spaces adjacent to stores, encouraging bicycling, and making it easier for pedestrians to cross the street.
Download Pottstown's proposal to PennDOT (written by Tom Hylton)
Part 1 (pages 1-12) Part 2 (pages 13-24)
Download authorization letter from PennDOT
Download article in PE Reporter (written by John Nawn, P.E.)