97 Seconds To Save A Life, and a Neighborhood
We’re all in a hurry; it’s part of life these days. Has it always been that way? Were there quieter, simpler times?
The City has convened a Citizens Advisory Panel to look at ways to enhance the pedestrian experience along Coast Hwy in Corona del Mar. They met 10 days ago and plan to meet again Oct 5th.
At the meeting it’s apparent, the charm of the village is something everyone in the room wants to preserve, yet the speed and volume of cars is the biggest challenge to the quality neighborhood we all want.
Last week a friend forwarded an article in the Economist: Bicycle Safety, Calm Down. It’s the heartbreaking story of a 44-year-old father of two in Seattle who was killed by a hit and run driver while riding his bike. The point of the article was that this would be unlikely in so many other cities; places like Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Berlin protect pedestrians and cyclists by enforcing strict speed limits — as low as 19 mph. That’s a lot slower than most cars are traveling on Coast Hwy. But it was the statistics that kept ringing in my ear. Here’s the same perspective from another source:
Pedestrians have a 90% chance of surviving car crashes at 18 mph or below, but less than a 50% chance of surviving impacts at 28 mph or above.
World Health Organization, World Report on road traffic injury prevention, 2004.
Do we have the time to travel so slowly? I wondered, so I timed the travel through CdM. From Avocado to Poppy is 1 mile; slowing from 35 to 18mph only adds 97 seconds travel time through the village. Doesn’t sound like much added time to anyone’s commute; does it?
I propose we re-brand our Citizen Advisory Project to be the “97 Seconds to Save A Life” project. You can name the benefits faster than I can list them here: a higher quality of life, slower traffic will attract more pedestrians and cyclists who will come to shop and dine, and of course, reduced risk of serious injury and death.
Can’t picture what this would be like? It’s simple. Imagine Balboa Island’s lovely Marine Ave, not like it is today with cars crawling, but with cars zipping along at 35mph. Its character would be drastically transformed from the charming scene it is today. That’s kind of like what we have in CdM.
The best way to preserve our neighborhood’s charm is to assure the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. Let’s work together to slow traffic along Coast Hwy.