Category: Public Safety
Posted on 15 Jun 2022, 12:42 - Category: Public Safety
The subject of crosswalk visibility came up in a conversation I recently had with a Bucks County Courier Times reporter. We were talking about the recent pedestrian death while using the crosswalk at N Sycamore St and Silo Drive (read “Sycamore Street Is Popular, But Is It Safe?”). It was suggested that the brick crosswalk (see photo below) is difficult for drivers to see at night.
I’m no expert on the visibility of crosswalks, but the people at the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Texas Transportation Institute are. In 2010, these experts investigated the relative daytime and nighttime visibility of three crosswalk marking patterns: transverse lines (e.g., like the crosswalks on N Sycamore St), continental, and bar pairs (see figure below).
These markings are used in conjunction with signs and other measures to alert road users to a designated pedestrian crossing point. Although the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) contains basic information about crosswalk markings, many municipalities develop practices that are not discussed in the MUTCD.
The following is a synopsis of a “TechBrief” of the 2010 Crosswalk Marking Field Visibility Study.
In this study, participants drove an instrumented vehicle on a route through the Texas A&M University campus in College Station, TX. The route provided an open road environment that included portions in a typical college setting (e.g., sidewalks, buildings, basketball arena) and roads through the agricultural area of the campus, which were more rural in feel. Roadway lighting was present at each of the crosswalk locations. The study vehicle was equipped with instrumentation that allowed the researchers to measure and record various driving performance data. However, the vehicle operated and drove like a normal vehicle.
The detection distances to continental and bar pairs are statistically different from transverse markings. A general observation is that the continental marking was detected at about twice the distance upstream as the transverse marking during daytime conditions (see figure below). This increase in distance reflects 8 seconds of increased awareness of the crossing for a 30-mph operating speed.
Based on the findings from this research, the researchers recommended that municipalities consider making bar pairs or continental the “default” for all crosswalks across uncontrolled approaches (i.e., not controlled by signals or stop signs), with exceptions allowing transverse lines where engineering judgment determines that such markings would be adequate, such as a location with low-speed residential streets.
Posted on 06 Jan 2022, 13:08 - Category: Public Safety
Posted on 27 Dec 2021, 01:57 - Category: Public Safety
"We Have No Reason to Believe 5G Is Safe," says Joel M. Moskowitz, PhD, director of the Center for Family and Community Health in the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. That is the title of his opinion piece published on the Scientific American blog.
"The latest cellular technology, 5G, will employ millimeter waves for the first time in addition to microwaves that have been in use for older cellular technologies, 2G through 4G," says Dr. Moskowitz. "Given limited reach [1,000 feet], 5G will require cell antennas every 100 to 200 meters, exposing many people to millimeter wave radiation."
Should We Be Concerned About Health Effects?
"Millimeter waves are mostly absorbed within a few millimeters of human skin and in the surface layers of the cornea," says Dr. Moscowitz. BUT..."Short-term exposure can have adverse physiological effects in the peripheral nervous system, the immune system and the cardiovascular system. The research suggests that long-term exposure may pose health risks to the skin (e.g., melanoma), the eyes (e.g., ocular melanoma) and the testes (e.g., sterility)."
Yesterday, a neighbor pointed out that the antennas located on top of the Newtown Artesian Water Tower, which is about 300 feet from my home and 400 feet from Goodnoe Elementary School, are now transmitting 5G radiation (see photo below).
I did not think much about this, until coincidentally that same day, a Newtown resident emailed me and asked: "Is 5G a topic that has been or will be discussed by Newtown Zoning or other? Are 5G emitters/masts allowed to be close to schools? Any research reviewed on possible health effects on children?"
At the August 2, 2018, Newtown, Upper Makefield, and Wrightstown Zoning Council (JZC) meeting, solicitor Vicki Kushto reviewed the current court rulings regarding small wireless cells [aka Distributed Antenna Systems or DAS]. Small cell antennas also will lead to super-fast 5G services.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court delivered its long awaited opinion in the case of Crown Castle NG East LLC v. Public Utility Commission, 2 MAP 2019 on July 21, 2020 which involves the status of Distributed Antenna Systems. The bottom line, DAS providers meet the definition of a “public utility” and are entitled to seek Certificates of Public Convenience. Once issued a Certificate of Public Convenience, DAS providers have access to public utility poles, public rights of way, exemptions from local zoning codes and the right to exercise the power of eminent domain. Source: https://www.clemonslaw.com/municipal-law/distributed-antenna-systems-are-public-utilities-under-pa-law/
There was legislation (HB2564) introduced by Rep. Frank Farry that would severely limit local municipalities ability to regulate this use or to seek reimbursement for the use of its public ROWs. The JZC opposes this legislation, which is being driven by DAS providers to install 5G services (see article embedded below).
I haven't heard anything new about this at recent JZC meetings, but will ask to put it on the next meeting's agenda.
UPDATE: The JZC met on Thursday, December 2, 2021. Continued discussion regarding details of the “Small Wireless Facilities” – aka Distributed Antennae Systems or DAS – ordinance. Much of the discussion had to due with the appearance/design and location of small poles within neighborhoods, especially in underground districts in which all utility installations are required to by installed underground.
The opinion was that these provisions in the ordinance would not be enforceable if challenged in court but regardless of what the final ordinance may specify, companies that wish to put up DAS poles would, for public relations reasons, not challenge the ordinance but would prefer to come before the township to approve the design and placement of poles. It was noted that in 2012 Northampton opposed a plan to put cell phone poles in neighborhoods that otherwise have no above-ground utility poles. The company agreed to relocate the poles to more heavily traveled roads closer to existing utility poles.
This topic was discussed at the March 22, 2021, Meet Mack Monday Zoom meeting. The discussion focused on the 5G antennas on top of the Newtown Artesian Water tower located less than 500 feet from Goodnoe Elementary School and many nearby homes.
In this 15-minute excerpt from the discussion below, a resident living nearby the tower claims the 5G radiation from this source has caused medical problems for her and her children. The discussion also covers what the township can do to mitigate this problem and a new FCC rule that would make it even worse!Read More...
Posted on 22 Mar 2021, 01:26 - Category: Public Safety
Posted on 30 Jan 2024, 9:44 - Category: Public Safety