Perils For Pedestrians 75: Pennsylvania

On this episode, we travel to
Philadelphia to talk with PhillyWalks about
sidewalks as centers of activity. Bicycles and Segway scooters belong in
bike lanes, not on sidewalks. The Delaware Valley
Regional Planning Commission is studying pedestrian access to
commuter train stations. The ability to travel on their own is
crucial to the independence individuals with developmental
disabilities. And finally, we look at how the Pennsylvania
Department of Transportation tells pedestrians to go away. Stay tuned. We’re in Philadelphia talking with Peter
Hecht, who is president of PhillyWalks. What is PhillyWalks? PhillyWalks is the only grassroots pedestrian advocacy and information group in the
state of Pennsylvania. And what are you folks trying to do? We try to keep the public and municipal and state governments aware of
issues that affect pedestrians, of problems that are occurring, and the impact of legislation on the ability of people to actually
walk in Philadelphia and the state of
Pennsylvania. It’s a little quiet on the sidewalk behind
us, it’s early on a weekend morning. What would
this sidewalk be like at noon on a weekday? could be very busy there be people
coming up and down the street vendors selling food probably at the corner a the people all over the place a which is a good so don’t indication what the sidewalk is for
cross the street we have there’s a coffee shop people be sitting out and it would be walking by and stopping to
talk with them help people be walking walking their dogs down in a residential
neighborhood I kids be out playing that that’s really
the light for the three people be looking in shop windows and coming
internet thing places to buy their wedding waiting for
the bus there’s also two different activities going on on the street you
know the sidewalks not really a roadway that pedestrians
happened inhabit it’s a place where there’s conversation going on with this
community like going on with people are buying things or selling things even
a there’s newspaper The on a box as we
also have how will this be true that recognizes all the different activities that go on on a sidewalk a which is fine unfortunately the way that
we so far governments tend to treat the
sidewalk as if it’s just you know another part of the road that
you know cars typically don’t go on although in the city they tend to park on this too on but what happens what
happens when you try to to treat a sidewalk is a road for
pedestrians well then you actually cut down on
community life you you cut out the real reason for for
a sidewalk being there is that so people can do things other
than just move we don’t spend their lives just moving
down the street not watching other people I running into
others and discussing offense or what we’re going to do are
making plans or just playing out here waiting for the bus you know once you treat it as a road
then wanna put something else on you know why
not put you know then nuf yurman transported the Segway
on it you know years and what what’s going to
happen you put a fast-moving the area like basket here 165 pounds a metal that very high
current email they can travel up to according to early specs on the web 19
points seven miles per hour guess what guess who gets shoved out of
the way. is that is going to be the best rhea and also these I have actually written
one of these intimate in a test and their their quiet and you
can hear them so anyone with the disability or coming up from behind or those who might be blind or can’t
move so quickly are at risk from this you know they’re
the ones who gonna get pushed out of the way threatened by it you know it’s bad
enough crossing the street there’s intimidation from cars that you
know don’t yield to pedestrians but then on the one place where the
pedestrian is supposedly has the right away to introduce vehicles
that by their very nature threaten are a large percentage love pedestrians and undercut the types
of activities that ought to and do go on on the
sidewalk is a major problem these things belong in the street with the bicycles and that’s where the bicycles would
prefer them is in the bicycle lanes I but not on the sidewalk yes they are
very flexible and they can move slowly but we know
very well from looking at cars things that can go faster will go faster we’re talking with Nancy landowners vice
president Billy walks or what this pennsylvania law say about
bicycles on sidewalks the pennsylvania statute says croat a
person shall not try to pet a cycle power on a sidewalk in a business district and was permitted
by official traffic control devices nor
when I usable had a cycle only lane has been provided
adjacent to the sidewalk are the city of philadelphia has refined
that code even more so by saying no person shall ride a bicycle on a sidewalk within a business district
as such district is defined in the vehicle code you can also no person 12 years the
Bajur morsel ride a bicycle plan any sidewalk in any district Eric A so to sum it up in residential districts children are allowed on the sidewalk are very but also be a mystery in the
business district nobody should be on a bicycle on a sidewalk are what promises he
create min bicyclists ride on the sidewalk it creates problems for many different types of people and a pedestrians come and all sizes ages and shapes a we have many many people living within the city area
here who are handicapped um who have canes and walkers who a need to operate wheelchairs on there are many children
that live within the city I don’t know that people realize that but even in a again just in center city there are many
children and more are moving into the city on there are elderly people and a those who simply want to have a decent relax way over moving from one destination to another no we don’t necessarily want air excluder bicycles from the from the central
business district but where do the blind man on the sidewalk well they should obey the rules of the
road which of course is contained in the piece I just read all of TiO on they made to become educated they need to ride in the straighter what
we would call roadway and it that its difficult on some other
city streets to do that we all realize that but that is where
they should be and the bicycle organizations are pushing
for that you have there some bicycle lanes being straight time
and streets in philadelphia how well as networking it sporadic length body I’ll if someone wants to cycle from one place to another a the cyclists might me a designated pathway for bikes which is
great but then it might stop and doesn’t the cyclist is left to fend for them
herself on the straight that can be dangerous so Philly walks you tryna make the site safe for
pedestrians yes by scoring is Asian strain make the
streets safer bicyclists we’re working more and more often with 30 I’ll bicycle organizations and we now serve on one another’s boards a so it that aspect is a bit is getting better
because we’re speaking with one voice about these various issues and no longer
can some I love the city agencies say that job and we’re fighting one another they’re going to have to work with this
eventually were in Upper Darby Township taking it
and there is a senior transportation planner with the Delaware Valley
Regional Planning Commission what does the Commission do we do comprehensive planning for the
Philadelphia metropolitan region which includes five counties in Pennsylvania
and for New Jersey we do transportation planning we do open space planning we produced Housing Studies and retail
stuff like that at related to land use what’s this little building
behind us metal building is the see Cain stop on the regional routes up to reinsert
regional rail line the R three line to me DNL when I’m it is in the middle %uh there it’s in a
suburban location surrounded by apartment complexes and and shopping
strips and generally for pedestrian environment what makes it
difficult for pedestrians here well but the lack of sidewalks are
primarily a roughly fifty percent of the people
who access this commuter train station do so and for yet
done many the legs %uh many other many of the
roadway legs approaching the station there are no sidewalks no in addition at the at the intersection
up here that’s closest to the train station
pedestrians are actually prohibited up from crossing a with fine edge a there are no marked crosswalks so pedestrians are crossing at their own
risk and now how did you get involved at this
location well I an art work program we had a a project called pedestrian safety and
accessibility we went to our member governments and asked them to
recommend locations which the county planners felt the needed treatment for to make life easier
for pedestrians so time safer at the Delaware County
Planning Department I recommend at this location and it turned out to be a very interesting one
a right here in from the station the we the discovered looking at PennDOT accident records that a number carpet
extreme crashes happen right here in front the station
so I requested copies police reports for those crashes and
they all had the basically same modus operandi whereby a pedestrian where start out are crossing the street
be there from the far side or from your site here station a would be a flag through by a motorist waiting in line at
their for that signal and that the pedestrian
with subsequently get hit by a second car coming in and another lame reporting came out with the get a number
recommendations for the area around the station are let’s start with the crossing here
what would you do there well I recommended a a mid-block
crosswalk right here I with it would be a race crosswalk I’m in order to accomplish that I would
have to eliminate eliminate the parking at the a shopping
strip and for the shopping strip for me across
the street and have a patrons Park in the parking lot in the
back of the strip a this idea was not looked I’m not
favorably by the township engineer who felt that in any case I encouraging pedestrians to cross member
lock I was a dangerous practice and what also diminish the capacity of
the roadway to accommodate vehicular traffic during
the the peak hours were as some of the other
improvements that you recommended I in addition to
sidewalks and the mid-block crosswalk we recommend it channel I think some the entrances to
the continuous access parking and friend at the several small shopping
strips in the immediate vicinity %uh landscaping benches subgroup a whole program to just improve
the appearance that the area on grounds are recommended I’ve done
cutting a game into the fence which separates the platform from the adjacent apartment complex to minimize the wall
that people have to do to get off the chain
to get to their homes I we also recommended a a a walkway along the train tracks a which many
people use now as a cut-through a now anyway so to get to the station we recommend nigga a walkway along the
tracks separated from the tracks by about 10 feet and a 10 for tonight chain link fence so came out with its report to what will it
take to eventually get these recommendations
but place what’s what has happened while we have to get
the PennDOT to agree to the concept first of
all apartment block crosswalk and Abbas I’m I understood that they’ve
done that in principle although we haven’t followed up on that I we need to get the property owners a in
the immediate vicinity the homeowners in particular I had to agree to have %uh star are about five walks install the longer
front of their properties there’s a no to the main things that need to happen a well
Sony to get the business owners in this for immediately for me to agree to a a a program to basically improve the
appearance a this retail district now you’ve done this station there are
more stations in the system are you gonna be looking at them as well
yes we are actually I’m I think we’re going to be looking at the
station on another system that serves Philadelphia the patco Port Authority transit corporation New Jersey and we’re
gonna be looking at there linden well station Lynn involves
at the end of the line a and at the line it’s got the largest a park n Ride lot and the entire Paco system I meanwhile there’s an
apartment to community and many people access the
chip access the station by foot and by bicycle yet conditions are equally horrendous at that station were in Upper Darby
Township Pennsylvania entertainment anymore he uses a bad North County
Intermediate Unit what is the unit dollar County
Intermediate Unit provide special education services to
local surrounding 15 school districts and what do you do
for I’m in trouble instructor with the DCI year what we teach students
with disabilities those who have mental retardation no someone who may have a brain injury
someone who has a hearing and impairment for I’m as physically impaired how to travel
independently within the county and what’s her skills they need to do
their there’s a in order to travel
independently a person needs to have many different skill sets very easy to learn how to travel to
learn how to ride a route it’s very easy how to learn how to ride
a bus train or trolley the most difficult things are actually the street crossing because as
i oftentimes say during a presentation that if we were to write a goal for the
students we wouldn’t say that they could safely cross the street three out of
five times they need to be able to cross an
intersection hundred-some proficiency and also in the problem solving skills
what to do when the things come around we call it the what ifs I’m instruction what happens if the bus
breaks down and you end up having to get off at a place in a familiar with what happens if you falsely I miss your
stop named teaching passed inside to is buses
and other public transportation do you have to work with the transit authority to accomplish their
yes absolutely the transit authority has been outstanding and working along with us
one some other things a scepter the
southeastern Pennsylvania transit authority has done they have given us travel instructor
casoulos so that we as the teachers do not need
to pay any fair bomber working but the student they also have
given us things such as on at the suit has difficulty learning
how to stand on a moving bus they will provide a special bus to come
out and weekend work with the student one-on-one
about everybody watching how do you hold on if the bus
is crowded need to stand what do you do with the weather umbrella
you’re holding on so it doesn’t drip onto the knees at the other passengers hold a bus demonstrations and bring a
bus to the school so that a number students can practice
especially perhaps I’m students who or what reasons for
example learn how to get on and off the bus how to position their chair how to the securement device is work so
there’s a need is a traveling been before they’re out in the
community they’ve also they’ve even put regional
rail cars on a separate track track so we can have
students who were again will truces learn how to get on and off the train again to learn at the rate but they need
to learn without having numerous people observing on also the the travel starters right
now we have for travel structures that work for our
program we are all special education teachers we have learned additional skills in
order to be able to do the training and a frequently takes
three to six months before a new teacher coming into work 101 with the student without having
without as a present an intersection like the one behind us how difficult would that be for one year
since their social behind us is extremely
complex in the sense that it is constantly
there’s always traffic moving there’s a pedestrian light here bomb that indicates when a person can walk
but the comp complexities of its answer always cars
moving first turning makes it difficult for a person to get
across persons a special with cognitive disabilities over the summer with mental
retardation someone who may have a brain injury a learning disability need extra time to process the
information is coming in so when the light turns green by the
time they checked for the traffic oftentimes wait for car to turn and want to start to step off the don’t
walk signals flashing intersections like
these in order for sometimes in order for a
person to learn to travel on their end some other things a contest cyst would be something like the leading
pedestrian interval where the light turns green for the pedestrian or the
walk light turns comes on for the pedestrian a few
seconds before the green light comes on for the traffic or perhaps just a explosive pedestrian
signal so that a person which is across the street has the room
phase room time to get across other then finding your way around and
traffic safety what are some of the other things that
you need a teacher seems some other most significant things that
an individual needs to learn and again I found this up sometimes the
parents and the individuals who work with teaching the
important things that they for a little comfort from cells to but
or areas a such as personal safety how do
you manage your money very discreet with that pretty go to for assistance if you
need help go to makes me worker that works in the
stores such as McDonald’s or you go into you look for people such as the bus
drivers someone that may have them the transit
logo on the sleeve you also but the things we do to do is
make sure that they know how to interact appropriately with strangers and we’ve been very fortunate and all
over town it will work with the local police departments and they will provide
a plainclothes officer who will our approach to student when
they think that the traveling on the round and see if they can we obtain personal
information and then subsequently would accept a
ride in a car and we the travel structures that are watching
from a distance and making sure that they respond appropriately and if not
then we intervene and sit down then with the family and talk again about the need
to be cautious while traveling in the community other problem solving things that we
have worked with his teaching students what to do if they miss their stop on
the bus and I’m what happens if they fall asleep
or the buscas detoured because I love for the
falls across the for Brodeur tree how do you handle
that what happens if you miss your stop in can you I’m solve that appropriately we also do something called location
identification where we take students series that they
don’t know that the route and then they need to call home to request and shared where they are by using signs and if they can’t breathe
and spelling the name assignment giving the name of the street
address I’m telephone numbers there happened to be on the outside of the sign so the family
can say I know where you are I can come and pick you up where they can call the store can find
out directions to so there’s was a different things to help a person
to achieve independence no what are the benefits to the individual student into local government to have a program
like this the benefits or comfortable for the
individual they can learn how to travel safely and
independently and then they become they can
independently access to community for jobs for recreational and leisure to
go and for worship purpose is to get it medical
appointments so they have the freedom the flexibility employers find lot earlier oftentimes
persons with disabilities I’m summer the bestttt employees that
you can have from what I’ve from research that ish
and but also the fact that for example
someone you’re working at mcdonald’s wants to
work the next couple hours then versus well minus rating you did sir you need just a couple back stars they
learned about the pics with they can do that you have they’d use paratransit services then they need to leave at the time that
the right to schedule for the families a persons with
disabilities the fam it gives them the Freedom Center
if they were to go and pick up someone than they would need to always
be available on always you to schedule their day
around the needs of the individual and then
also forward the local communities all mass transit systems that receive
federal funds must provide what’s called paratransit service which must be
comparable service but it’s a door-to-door service that pic per person
up at their house and taken to their destination that is
extremely expensive can cost anywhere between thirty forty dollars per ride for the company income using a fixed rate system courses much cheaper so its it’s more
cost-effective also but the most benefit as to the
individual and if you ask most persons as with disabilities especially those who
have mental retardation or other cognitive impairments they want
to be out there troubling just like the other people
they work with so what’s the sense of freedom and independence we have seen from a distance we work with change over the course because we were gone so
much the problem solving and and it’s probably the first time in
their life that they’re actually alone from the community but we see a
change in demeanor they they stand taller their shoulders and
back they walk with more sense of purpose it’s very exciting were on laps Road in York Pennsylvania throw to our business says my residence
nearby the sort of place we’d expect to see a
lot of pedestrians but when pennsylvania d-at wine this
road not too long ago Hindu anything to bring the sidewalk you
can see the mud trails where pedestrians do their best to get back
did and I just forget about the best friends it’s
worse than there sound walls behind this report and a
buffer the surrounding neighborhoods from all the noise and traffic the space next
to the sound wall where you’d expect to see a sidewalk and
output in large cobblestones and signs saying no pedestrians here provide no indication no where an
alternate route might be here are you supposed to do when you get
there we we spend our would spend as much effort trying to accommodate pedestrians as
they do putting in no pedestrian signs is that is on the
Internet at WWW dot pedestrians .org

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