Results of a study in Palo Alto have recently been published, and the news is great for cyclists. Traffic calming measures implemented on Arastradero Road two years ago seem to be responsible for a drastic reduction in the number of collisions involving motorists and cyclists. The City's report shows the traffic calming had a number of benefits, including reduced incidents of speeding and increased walking and bike riding, despite an increase in overall traffic volume. From the Palo Alto Weekly:
Perhaps the most significant result of the Arastradero trial has been a fivefold decrease in vehicle accidents involving bicyclists or pedestrians, Rodriguez said. Since the project began in September 2010, the crashes went from six in 2009 to one for each year thereafter. The data runs through April 2012.
It's amazing how effective traffic calming is. With reduced speeds, more people feel comfortable walking or riding a bike. The increased presence and visibility of people on bikes or foot makes drivers more aware, and encourages better behavior. This creates a friendlier environment, which encourages even more people to use the road without a car.
Residents seem to be happy with the changes. Peggy Kraft, an Arastradero resident, said, "I think the statistics are astonishing. I believe this keeps our kids safer. You're not going to have a miracle where 15 percent of the people are going to leave the city and stop driving here."
Way to go, Palo Alto!