Pasadena is one of California's most dangerous cities when it comes to walking and biking. Since 2009, the city has consistently ranked within the top five most dangerous among cities of similar size for injuries and fatalities to people walking (with older adults being at particularly high risk), and within the top six for people riding bikes.
Source: California's Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) ( link)
In 2015, the City laid out a plan to stop these needless injuries and deaths by building a network of safer streets, including Orange Grove as a key street north of the 210 freeway. The planned improvements would preserve commercial street parking, curb reckless driving, and protect people who walk and ride bikes. If implemented, thousands of people at schools, businesses, and churches along and near Orange Grove would be less exposed to dangerous cut-through traffic.
All Orange Grove residents should know about, and be invited to weigh in on the project. Moreover, the safety situation along the full length of Orange Grove needs to change -- and talking rationally about solutions in each district is the best way to start. We're calling on the City to step up -- and you can help make sure this happens!
Orange Grove Boulevard has been the site of 301 collisions in the past 5 years. That's even more than Colorado Blvd (421 people in 319 collisions) and Washington Blvd (307 people in 217 collisions).
Data was downloaded through UC Berkeley's TIMS for the latest available ratified five-year period (2012-2016) and filtered for location (primary or secondary street = Orange Grove, Colorado, Washington, etc.). Only secondary street collisions with a distance of 0 feet from the intersection were included. Results are tabulated and reported for the entire length of the street (e.g., between Columbia St. and Sierra Madre Villa Ave. for Orange Grove Blvd.). Numbers reported are current with our last analysis of 2-28-2018.
Safe mobility is a fundamental civil right: unsafe traffic has a bigger negative effect on the lives of families who rely on walking, biking, and public transit to get around.
According to the US Census, a relatively high number of families living along Orange Grove (12% overall, 15% for West Pasadena, and up to 30% in the neighborhood south of Orange Heights) do not own a car.
The basic safety and mobility needs of families living on Orange Grove are not being met by the current road design. Redesigning Orange Grove with safety in mind is essential to facilitating access to jobs, school, shopping, and transit.
When people treat Orange Grove like a freeway, everyone who uses this street is put at risk. Children and older adults are particularly vulnerable to fast-moving traffic, especially when walking to and from the schools, churches, care homes, and community centers along Orange Grove. We demand better.
Speed infographic from the Seattle DoT's Vision Zero Plan.
In the same analysis as above, more than 85% of people hurt on Orange Grove were in a motor vehicle at the time.
Image adapted from FIG. 4.3 of "Travelling Speed and the Risk of Crash Involvement", Kloeden CN, et al., NHMRC Road Accident Research Unit, University of Adelaide, November 1997.
By engineering the road so that traffic speeds are slightly slower, but smoother and more consistent, we can avoid dangerous situations that cause people to get hurt or killed, like: getting hooked on a left turn by a speeding oncoming driver, or getting rear-ended when waiting to turn left or when traffic suddenly stops, etc.
It's well known that speed increases the risk of a crash. One safety study tried to quantify this risk on a 60 km/h (37 mph) road. They found that the risk of being in a car crash where someone dies was doubled with each 5 km/h (3 mph) increase above 37 mph.
Because of the way human brains work and CA traffic law is set, we can't keep people from speeding just by lowering the speed limit. However, we can do it using smart engineering - and we can potentially save many lives.
The study was conducted by independent analysts Kittleson and Associates, and found that the projected impact on car travel was "insignificant". By law, the final proposal would be studied again to make sure that the improvements still make sense for every section of Orange Grove.
In 2010, the City of Pasadena reconfigured Cordova St. between Hill Ave. and Lake Ave. to include a center turning lane and bicycle lanes. The City subsequently found that these changes improved traffic safety and reduced speeding without the need for additional traffic signals and without creating gridlock -- so well, in fact, that the Cordova St. project has since been recognized by the US Dept of Transportation as a successful case study.
We need to proactively look for ways to improve safety on Orange Grove, and all of our roads. We have a solution that's worked in the past -- we owe it to ourselves to keep it on the table for consideration.
The Pasadena Department of Transportation has released an official website about the project. View the project page for details, or their Safer Streets page for information about how Orange Grove fits in with their work.
The community meeting originally scheduled for Wednesday, March 28 is presently indefinitely postponed.