Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Something for the Bored of Works to nap on: "Nine foot travel lanes in practice."

Why 12-Foot Traffic Lanes are Disastrous for Safety and Must Be Replaced Now

As we've noted oft times before, speed kills in densely populated urban areas, and if a city is serious about reducing traffic speeds and increasing safety for all users of its streets, its streets will be reconverted to two-way traffic with narrower lane widths.

Speed traps are not the answer. They're Band-Aids at best. If one wishes to address fundamentals and not just prattle about them, then basics begin with basics -- not propaganda.

This essay is geeky, but highly relevant to the ongoing situation in New Albany, as Jeff Gahan continues to delay the implementation of safety for political expedience. We're highlighting four passages.

Nine foot travel lanes in practice, by Baron Haussmann (Walkable West Palm Beach)

When it comes to lane width, less is more.

This post explores a state highway section with 9 foot travel lanes, and will demonstrate that in spite of transportation agency misgivings about narrow lanes, Forest Hill Boulevard performs better on crash statistics than FDOT guidance for similar roadways, while offering advantages in the form of reduced construction costs, less negative impacts to adjacent properties, and decreased stormwater runoff, among other positive benefits.

The argument for narrower lanes is summarized.

Livable streets advocates often recommend the use of 9′ to 10′ wide travel lanes instead of wider 11′ to 12′ lanes for several reasons, including:

  • Lower construction costs
  • Less right of way acquisition required
  • Decreased stormwater runoff
  • Lower maintenance costs
  • Lower travel speeds and less injurious crashes
  • Smaller footprint which can allow limited right of way to be reallocated to other uses such as on-street parking, bike lanes, or landscaping.

The author returns to Jeff Speck's article from October, 2014, which should be waiting on the night stand to slap Gahan in the face each each time he rises to resume building his cult of personality at the expense of public safety.

Jeff Speck’s article, “Why 12-Foot Traffic Lanes are Disastrous for Safety and Must Be Replaced Now“, provides a strong case for why reduced free-flow speeds are desirous and how narrower lanes help to achieve lower speeds and safer streets:
When lanes are built too wide, pedestrians are forced to walk further across streets on which cars are moving too fast and bikes don’t fit…

The article closes with a reminder to fiscal conservatives of both political parties: What we're talking about here embraces both sides of the aisle.

If you’re interested in changing things, Strong Towns is an organization working hard to get us back on a path of a fiscally sound development pattern and sustainable transportation funding. Here’s a great place to start the conversation.

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