Streetfilms has a feature on Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPI) for crosswalk signals that I’d recommend watching. In short, before a signal for vehicle traffic turns green, LPIs give pedestrians a head start to establish their presence in the crosswalk. While Streetfilms doesn’t cite safety statistics, virtually all pedestrians can imagine how LPIs might improve their odds. We’ve all likely had the experience of getting a “WALK” signal and stepping out into the crosswalk right as Mario Andretti (or at least his evil twin) takes off from his pole position right as the light turns green as if the green signal releases a massive rubber band holding Mario’s car in place.
The city of Seattle has already started experimenting with LPIs in “a few” locations (Sadly, no mention of where). I stumbled across one on 4th Ave S, just north of Costco and can say that it at least *feels* safer. Going forward, I’ll be interested to see more of these, especially in locations with heavy volumes of turning traffic. Perhaps 4th & Olive, or 6th & University near the I-5 onramp? Where would you like to see an LPI?
The Portland Oregonian has a video that anecdotally confirms what I’ve long suspected: There is frequently no obvious benefit to running red lights. Obviously, one data point doesn’t prove that there is never any benefit to it. That said, the behavior shown is pretty reckless and the benefit of getting to the next light before everybody else is not really worth risking one’s life for. Also a note to angry Seattle Times bike commenters: The vast majority of cyclists in the video are following the rules, unlike that Bizarro world you inhabit where every cyclist is a deranged monster out to run down granny, little children, and cute little puppies – Just sayin’