A set of fully solar powered traffic signals are installed and operational on Kimball Avenue to serve Orange Elementary School. This is probably the first one of its kind in Iowa and one of a few in the nation. The material was paid for by Waterloo School District. City of Waterloo personnel designed and installed it. This is a hybrid signal and remains dark until someone pushes a pedestrian button. See how these signals work.
The signals use wireless technology to communicate. The control technology and application of it was developed by OMJC, a local Waterloo firm.
To positively affect driver behavior, City of Waterloo has started a radio broadcast traffic safety campain. This was made possible by an Iowa DOT traffic safety grant:
Improve Driving Evening at Home Home Safe
It takes 2 to make a cell phone connection. We might be able to help save lives. For example:
1- When calling someone on their cell phone ask them if they are driving.
2- When texting someone ask them not to reply if they are driving.
SHARE YOUR IDEA
The season for increased bicycle activity has arrived. In Black Hawk County about 200 bicyclist visit hospital emergency rooms every year. There is the danger of head injury. Bicycle helmets are proven to reduce head injuries by 80 percent. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention a lot of bicyclists don’t wear a helmet. Children are more at risk. They have a sense of immortality. Children bicycle related deaths and injuries can be reduced by use of helmets. In Black Hawk County about 50% of the bicycle emergency room visits are people 18 years old and younger.
Have your opinion on safety and efficiency of Cedar Valley’s transportation system heard. Take the survey that helps them make better decisions on planning for roadways, bike trails, transit, etc.
Intersection of Shaulis Road and IA 21 (Hawkeye Road) in Waterloo recently changed from a 3 leg to a full 4 leg intersection. This location has been experiencing traffic accidents. Crashes have been happening while a driver who is waiting to make a left turn is met by an unsuspecting driver causing a rear-end collision. City of Waterloo and Iowa Department of Transportation are working together to find a solution, possibly adding left turn lanes. Meanwhile please be more careful when going through this intersection.
Safe driving culture is shaped from very early ages. Drive Safe Cedar Valley has included cell phone use in a children’s activity booklet. By the time grade school children become adults the cell phone might have changed as we know it now. The interference of electronic communications with driving, however, will probably be even more complex. Technological advances provide lots of oppurtunities that were unavailable to us many years ago. At the same time they create situations, some of which life threatening, such as texting and driving.
Waterloo’s first speed table is scheduled to be installed in the 600 block of Burton Avenue this week. This is an attempt to improve pedestrian safety at an existing crosswalk. The crosswalk will be raised 4 inches. It will be 10 ft wide. There will be 6 ft tapered approaches on both sides of the table. Waterloo normally installs speed humps to control speed in residential areas. At this location improving the crosswalk is the main goal. Park Road will be closed to through traffic from Fairview/Lafayette to Burton Avenue. Burton Avenue will be closed to through traffic from Conger to Park Road. The public will be able to drive to the baseball fields. The roadwork will begin at 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 19, 2012 and should end by 3:00 p.m. on Thursday.
You must yield when making a left turn. This is very much like a solid green ball light for left turners. A driver who is planning to make a left turn must yield to all other traffic who have the right of way such as opposing through traffic and pedestrians. Iowa DOT has more information on their site under “Introducing the flashing yellow left-turn arrow traffic signals” The reason behind it is to remind the motorist that when you are making a permitted left turn you need to yield to oncoming traffic. The green ball indication might confuse some of the drivers into thinking they have the right of way, particularly after a green arrow. Maryland was the first state to use FYA in 2000. They installed many of them. Now, Maryland has banned the FYA.
Where is Waterloo’s most dangerous spot? What intersection has the most number of fatalities? Where is that location where cars collide causing deaths? The answer is nowhere and everywhere. Or perhaps the answer is “inside us”. We are causing our own suffering. Vehicles and roadways have improved drastically. Has the driver improved too?
Almost all of fatal crashes happened at non-intersections. Almost all involved only one vehicle. You would think in a city it happens when two cars collide. In Waterloo, fatalities have been happening at random locations. Law enforcement and engineers concentrate on problem spots. When fatalities happen at random locations there is little they can do.
Is it our driving culture? Why do we have to lose so many people who are simply going from one point to another? Should going from here to there be this dangerous? Should so many lives be lost, more than to wars and to natural disasters? Besides emotional losses, the economical losses to our society are huge. What can we do to make zero fatalities a reality? Are we too distracted? Do we not care? Why do we drink alcohol and drive? One bicycle fatality tested positive for drugs. A pedestrian fatality was possibly due to dark clothes; not visible in the dark. What will it take to make us change our culture? What will it take to make us understand moving around town is a serious business?