Designed to Fail


Does it ever seem like certain streets and intersections were designed to be dangerous for those who walk and bike?  Well....they were.  Maybe not intentionally, but they most definitely were.  In many cities across the county, transportation officials, planners and engineers are figuring out ways to make their cities more hospitable to those who walk and bike.  As we've mentioned many, many times, this approach is a great investment.  Why are some cities making such great strides when Baton Rouge remains stagnant?

It all comes down to this: finding ways to accomplish things versus finding reasons not to.  

There exist a number of road design guidelines and regulations that engineers cite when explaining why there can't be a crosswalk where it's needed, why your neighborhood can't have traffic calming measures or why there are speed limits of 45 or 50 mph in the middle of dense urban neighborhoods.   Engineers will argue that they can't institute design reform, as that would compromise "level of service" or "capacity."  Level of service for whom?  Capacity for whom?  Well.... guess.  

These regulations result in arterial roadways with very high traffic speeds that are virtually impossible to cross safely on foot....neighborhood streets with hundreds of cars traveling too fast....successful bike/pedestrian improvement demonstration projects that are rolled back or never made permanent....and needlessly dangerous streets, making Baton Rouge one of the most dangerous cities in the country for people who walk and bike.  

Click the box below to see which regulations both at the local and state level are hindering efforts to advance the Complete Streets mission.  It doesn't have to be this way.  Guidelines and regulations can change.  And if Baton Rouge is going to become a safer, more enjoyable place for people to walk and bike, they'll need to.  Soon.

**An earlier version of Designed to Fail included outdated information on parking minimums.  Most of the reforms we called for have already been implemented in recent years.  More on that in a later report...