Urgent action needs to be taken to address the climate emergency and equity
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Remove Street Parking

On-street parking is dangerous for people cycling, walking and driving. It reduces sightlines making it harder for people walking, driving and cycling to see each other. People cycling can be hit by car doors and vehicles accessing the parking.

Cruising and Crashing for Parking

A study by Donald C. Shoup of the University of California found between 8% and 74% of downtown traffic in cities was cruising for parking. This cruising not only increases congestion and pollution but most likely also results in more collisions with people walking, cycling and driving.

Walking

European priorities for pedestrian safety,European Transport Safety Council  

Invisibility Pedestrians can be difficult to see: They are small compared to a car, and can be hidden by one. At night the problem is more severe. A parked car is the most commonly cited source of obstruction.

Parked cars are a traffic hazard for pedestrians, particularly children. Research has shown that prohibiting on-street parking improves safety. The number of accidents is reduced by about 25% in streets where on-street parking is prohibited.

From European Commission, Directorate-General Transport and Energy, page 13

Pedestrian crashes often occur when people are trying to cross the street on links outside pedestrian crossings or where no pedestrian crossings exist. One of the causes is the driver’s difficulty in perceiving pedestrians because of darkness and/or parked cars. In the United Kingdom, nearly 90% of the injuries to older pedestrians which are caused by motor vehicles happen under such conditions. In over 10% of cases, the driver cannot see pedestrians because of parked cars.

Vehicle speeds were slower in the presence of occupied on-street parking bays compared to the other two environments; however, the speed reduction was insufficient to compensate for observed impairments in drivers’ hazard perception and slower response to the pedestrian in this condition. 

Safety Considerations in the Use of On-Street Parking

Depending on street grades and speeds, curb parking can create a hazardous sight obstruction if allowed on a major route within even a hundred meters of an egress point.

The effect of curb parking on road capacity and traffic safety

The breadth of curb parking should not be set within the range of the sight triangle at the upstream road segment of a pedestrian crosswalk.

Cycling

On-street parking is dangerous for people cycling due to dooring, conflicts with automobiles pulling in or out of parking and reduced visibility of vehicles at intersections and driveways. 

It concluded that the greatest risk to cyclists is when they share major streets with parked cars, with no bike lanes present — such as on Broadway in Vancouver — and that without a designated space on the road, cyclists face a greater risk of injury from moving cars and car doors opening.

In contrast, the study concluded, roads with infrastructure designed for cyclists — including bike lanes on major streets without parked cars, residential street bike routes, and off-street bike paths — carry about half the risk, while physically separated bike lanes carry about one-tenth the risk.

Teschke noted that while accidents involving parked car doors — “doorings” — were on the greatest route risk for cyclists, such accidents are responsible for 10 per cent of all crashes involving cyclists.

Dooring is Dangerous to Cyclists

Almost all people cycling along busy arterial streets without protected bike lanes are riding in the “door zone”, too close to the parked cars to avoid being hit by a door. This is especially dangerous on downhill sections where cyclist and motor vehicle speeds are higher and breaking distances are longer. Doorings have proven tragic. In 2001, 40 year-old actor Keith Provost of Vancouver was killed riding his bicycle as a result a driver opening a car door in front of him. In 2015, Patricia Keenan of Kelowna, was killed by a door opening in front of her.

Vehicles Accessing Parking are Dangerous to Cyclists

In addition to dooring, vehicles accessing parking are also dangerous. The Toronto Bicycle/Motor-Vehicle Collision Study 2003 found that vehicles pulling into or out of on-street parking were responsible for 1.2% of all cycling collisions with motor vehicles.

Motor Vehicle Conflicts

From Safety Considerations in the Use of On-Street Parking:

The overall picture of curb-parking accidents, as related in the literature, is grim. This type of collision generally represents about 20-25 percent of urban non-freeway accidents. A significant proportion of these produce injuries. Furthermore, a distinct probability exists that many accidents related to curb parking are not reported as such, because a parked vehicle was not actually contacted (even though it posed a sight restriction).

Parking-related midblock accidents accounted for 49 percent of all accidents along major streets, 68 percent along collector streets, and 72 percent along local streets. Prohibition of parking resulted in the lowest accident rates measured. 

  • Vehicles leaving the parked position disrupt the traffic flow and, by increasing congestion, lead to rear- end and sideswipe collisions.
  • Vehicles entering the parked position frequently require automobiles approaching in the lane adjacent to the parking lane to slow or stop. Parking maneuvers are especially hazardous because they usually involve a backing-and-turning movement. Rear-end and side- swipe collisions can readily result from this maneuver,
  • Drivers or back-seat passengers getting out of parked vehicles on the street side present an added ob- stacle in the roadway. Not only are the door and the alighting passengers in danger of being struck, but passing traffic may have to swerve or stop suddenly. This causes both rear-end and sideswipe collisions.

Curb parking has adverse influences on operation safety of dynamic traffic. Among them, motor vehicle safety is determined by the severity of traffic conflict caused by curb parking. (Cao, 2016)

Dooring is Dangerous to Drivers

As soon as someone steps out of their car door, they are a pedestrian and face increased danger due to on-street parking. As well, being forced to suddenly brake or swerve to avoid hitting a fallen cyclist is dangerous for motorists.

Photo: Cycle Toronto

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