In urging New Albany's Common Council to join Jeffersonville and Clarksville in passing a no tolls, East End Bridge focused resolution, the New Albanian yesterday alluded to the long-term, negative impacts a toll financed Bridges Project would bring to the city, saying "... it is imperative for New Albany to take back the city's streets now, with a plan for two-way traffic, traffic calming and 'complete streets', before our avenues become a de facto grid of on-ramps for pass-through traffic." The City's best defense against the unwanted, toll-based behemoth beyond project related activism is a proactive approach to improving the streets over which we have more direct control.
His comment is mirrored by the Federal Highway Administration as part of the Bridges Project's Supplemental Final Environmental Impact Statement. The FHWA not only suggests an increase in mass transit to offset the public burden of the Bridges, but refers to New Albany two-way street reclamation and other traffic calming measures as a means to mitigate negative impacts as well. The relevant bit is shared below, emphasis mine:
The City of New Albany developed the New Albany Inner-City Grid Transportation Study (NAIGTS) in 2007 to identify solutions to make transportation in downtown New Albany safer and more pedestrian friendly. Because of its location and proximity to I-64, New Albany experiences a notable amount of “cut through” traffic. New Albany’s streets, particularly Spring Street and Elm Street provide connections to I-64 for motorists in Harrison County, Clarksville, and Jeffersonville. This study sought strategies to manage traffic in the downtown area to improve efficiency, safety, pedestrian use, and the quality of life of city residents. The goal of the Study was to examine traffic calming solutions that would create a more pedestrian friendly downtown area. Speed was the primary concern in regards to safety issues for those living and working in the downtown area, as opposed to traffic congestion. The majority of respondents indicated that the conversion of the one-way street system to a two-way system would be a desired to improve traffic movements and reduce travel speeds.
The traffic calming solutions examined include changes in street alignment and installation of other physical barriers to reduce traffic speeds and/or cut through volumes in the interest of safety, livability and other public purposes. Traffic calming techniques include the use of speed tables, raised intersections, traffic circles, and travel lane width reductions to slow travel speeds, and increase the safety of pedestrians while providing an increased quality of downtown livability. The study noted that increased pedestrian foot traffic as a result of increased safety could have effects resulting in increased economic viability of the downtown area and overall community cohesion.
In relation to the LSIORB Project, these types of traffic calming measures could reduce the desirability of using these roadways to avoid the tolled I-65 bridges. The implementation of speed reduction techniques on these urban roadways may increase travel times to the extent that traffic would not seek these roadways as alternatives to the Modified Selected Alternative.