Kansas City — Parked Cars a Challenge
A major challenge facing the startup of the Kansas City modern street car line is parked autos, The Kansas City Star reports.This problem exists in many places with new street car lines. Most motorists in those places had never saw a street car before. Since test running of the streetcars began illegally parked autos are encountered almost daily.
“Like with any new project, there’s a little bit of a learning curve,” said Dan Bower, executive director of Portland Streetcar, which has had a modern street car system for 15 years. “It’s solvable. It’s not an insurmountable problem.” Bower says when he talks to other cities about street cars, the question of how to integrate them into mixed traffic “has come up more than anything else.”
When the system is new then all other road users need to be educated regularly until everyone has adequate practical experience. Portland reported 30 accidents resulting from poorly parked cars in all of 2015. Given that the system operates 75,000 hours per year, 30 accidents is not very many. The Portland system emphasizes avoiding collisions in their operator training and erects signs and paints safety stripes. Arrangements have been made for tow trucks to respond quickly to an accident to avoid tying up traffic and streetcar service.
New streetcar operations in Seattle, Washington, Atlanta, Charlotte, and Salt Lake City also experienced a higher number of collisions when the systems were new.