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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Damansara Uptown Phase 2 traffic & pedestrian safety

Many may welcome the proposed Damansara Uptown Phase 2 facelift of Damansara Uptown including the proposed Somerset Damansara Uptown Petaling Jaya plus the doubling of parking bays to 8,000.

However, there is one proposal which may raise the apprehension of business and premise owners as well as visitors, and this is the proposal to remove the center divider, more specifically the raised medians. This will mean less roadside parking leading to great inconveniences. More disturbing is the pedestrian safety aspect.

Removal of the center divider will mean that a pedestrian crossing to the other side of the now widened road will have to traversed a longer distance to reach safety in addition to the tendencies of motorists to drive at higher speed of widened roads.

damansara uptown widened road with removal of center divider

Here are some snippets from National Cooperative Highway Research Program Volumn 10: A Guide for Reducing Collisions Involving Pedestrians

Strategy 9.1 A3: Construct Pedestrian Refuge Islands and Raised Medians

Raised pedestrian refuge islands, or medians at crossing locations along roadways, provide another strategy to reduce exposure between pedestrians and motor vehicles. Refuge islands and medians that are raised (i.e., not just painted) provide pedestrians more secure places of refuge during the street crossing. This simplifies the crossing maneuver for pedestrians by creating the equivalent of two narrower one-way streets instead of one wide two-way street.

State and local DOTs may choose to install raised medians and refuge islands not only for improved pedestrian safety, but also to provide improved motor-vehicle safety. Adding a raised median converts an undivided road to a divided road, which helps channel motor vehicles.

The FHWA (Federal Highway Administration, 2002) found that the presence of a raised median (or raised crossing island) was associated with a significantly lower pedestrian crash rate at multilane crossing locations, with both marked and unmarked crosswalks. (See Strategy 9.1 B2 for a graph of findings.) In contrast, painted (not raised) medians and center two-way left-turn lanes did not offer significant safety benefits to pedestrians on multilane roads, compared to no median at all.

Please leave your comments to address these issues which hopefully can help authorities to rethink their plan on removing the center divider, especially the raised medians.

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