A lot of people are very upset over the city’s plan to put a stretch of Lake Avenue leading to Charlotte on a “road diet.”
Lake Avenue, from Merrill St. to Burley Rd. would be reduced from four travel lanes to two travel lanes. There would be a turning lane in the middle. There would also be 5-foot wide bike lanes.
People fear their commutes would slow to a crawl.
Right now, an average of 18,475 cars drive on this portion of Lake Ave. every day. The 85th percentile speed is 48 m.p.h. That means 15 percent of drivers go faster than 48 m.p.h. The speed limit is 35 m.p.h.
The city’s traffic study found no major impact from reducing lanes, other than improving safety. People would drive closer to the speed limit. There would be fewer crashes. The intersections along this route have a higher crash rate than the county average. Half of them are rear-end and overtaking crashes.
(The study did not include possible development at the port because peak travel times for the port will not be rush hour travel times. It did factor in development at Eastman Business Park.)
It’s important to note a major reason for putting roads on a diet is not just for driver safety. It’s also to make roads safer and more accessible for pedestrians and bicycles.
In Rochester, we’ve seen portions of St. Paul, University, Dewey. Mt. Hope and East Ave. put on road diets. It might take you a few extra minutes to reach your destination during rush hour, but traffic moves just fine.
These road diets are the future. We’ve engineered our cities to service cars, sacrificing beautiful, safe streets in the process. (Walkable Cities author Jeff Speck will be talking about this issue Tuesday night in Rochester.)
UPDATE: The city says this project is now dead, because of complaints from residents. But to meet the city’s complete streets policy, the city may add a bicycle track parallel to the road. – RB 1/23/14
In Other Road Diet News:
City Council is voting this month on bonds for the $1.1 million two-way conversion of St. Paul and Clinton. Construction should be finished in the fall. This will dramatically change how we get around downtown.
Links of the Day:
– Mayor Lovely Warren woke up to two highly critical items in the Democrat and Chronicle. Nestor Ramos writes about Warren’s “defense of the indefensible uncle hiring, the dissembling and the dodging.” The editorial board, which has been kind to Warren, wrote she “must start talking candidly about her fateful Jan. 8 road trip to Albany.”
– Living in cities is more environmentally-friendly than living in the suburbs. <Cool interactive carbon footprint Zip Code map.>
– A lack of parking is not why some restaurants at Corn Hill Landing have failed. If that were the case, nothing would survive on Park Ave. and Tony D’s would have closed long ago.
– Syracuse’s mayor is feeling the heat for questioning $200 million in state money for a new SU sports stadium while her city can’t afford basic fixes.
– Chobani downsized its yogurt containers – but not their price.