Driver cited for violation after hitting Waymo minivan SanTan Sun News

Driver cited for violation after hitting Waymo minivan

May 30th, 2018 | by SanTan Sun News
Driver cited for violation after hitting Waymo minivan
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SanTan Sun News Staff

 

An accident in Chandler between an autonomous Waymo minivan and a car prompted police to call attention to the dangers of running a red light.

Around noon May 4, the two-vehicle collision occurred as a Honda was traveling eastbound on Chandler Boulevard and approaching the intersection with Los Feliz Drive.

As the Honda continued toward the intersection, the traffic signal turned from yellow to red. The operator swerved and drove over the raised median and continued traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes of Chandler Boulevard.

From there, the Honda struck the Waymo minivan, which was traveling westbound and slowing for the red signal at Los Feliz Drive.

Investigators determined that the Honda was traveling at approximately 40 mph when it entered the Los Feliz Drive intersection.  

“When the eastbound light cycled red, the Honda was approximately three seconds behind the intersection,” police said in a release. “At 40 mph, this places the Honda approximately 180 feet behind the intersection when the light cycled to red.”

Both vehicles involved were towed from the scene with significant damage and the operator of the Waymo van sustained minor injuries. The Honda operator was cited for a red-light violation.

Police said the Waymo vehicle was in manual mode at the time of the crash.

In a statement released shortly after the accident, Waymo said, “Our team’s mission is to make our roads safer – it is at the core of everything we do and motivates every member of our team. We are concerned about the well-being and safety of our test driver and wish her a full recovery.”

The accident reflected a completely different set of circumstances from the one involving an Uber autonomous vehicle that struck and killed a female cyclist in Tempe.

The Uber was in autonomous mode when it killed a 49-year-old woman who was outside a crosswalk when she was struck around 10 p.m. March 19 near Mill Avenue and Curry Road.

Tempe police are still investigating that accident, but enough questions arose that Gov. Doug Ducey revoked his permission for Uber to test its autonomous vehicles on Arizona roadways.

Meanwhile, Chandler City Council last week gave final approval to new zoning regulations that allows the city to take into account autonomous vehicles when determining how much parking developers should provide when constructing new buildings.

It would allow developers to devote less space to parking – and more space to more profitable building space – if they meet certain accommodations for autonomous vehicles.

A Denver zoning specialist has noted there are 263 million non-autonomous cars on the road and roughly 2 billion parking spaces in the United States.

He sees a reduced need for parking, which would be welcome by developers of high-value urban property who currently must factor a certain number of parking spaces into construction costs and rent.

The changes to Chandler’s zoning code give the city flexibility in adjusting parking requirements.

“These zoning code amendments have many positive implications from increasing the amount of property available for revenue generating activity, demonstrating to the autonomous vehicle industry that Chandler is ‘open for business’ and further reinforcing Chandler’s brand recognition as the Innovation and Technology Hub of the Southwest,” said Mayor Jay Tibshraeny in a release earlier this month.

Under the new changes, a zoning administrator can reduce by as much as 40 percent of required parking area if a developer can show that ride-sharing and autonomous vehicles will be in high use by the building tenants. They also allow a 10 percent parking reduction – up to 40 percent – for each loading zone space.

If the reductions were to cause a parking problem, the City’s zoning administrator will have the discretion to deny the request.

The ordinance also poses standards for loading zones: They must be at least 50 feet from the main entrance, kept separate from fire zones, provide shade, benches and other amenities and be handicap-accessible.

The new regulations take effect June 9.

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