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Columbus Road Diets

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Transportation Columbus Road Diets

This topic contains 60 replies, has 31 voices, and was last updated by welkstar welkstar 3 years, 9 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 61 total)
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  • #83724
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    This is semi-related to some of the discussion in the conversation about Columbus driving statistics, but I thought it deserved it’s own discussion:

    Road Diets

    Back in April when we were discussing the 2010 Downtown Development Plan, the Broad Street revamp was referred to on multiple occasions as being a “road diet“. The idea being that Broad Street’s traffic levels have decreased, and the road can be narrowed or lanes re-purposed for on-street parking, greenspace or for pedestrian/bike use.

    I hadn’t thought too much about Road Diets since then, but last week while visiting Charleston, South Carolina, I couldn’t help but notice the aesthetic difference in both walking and driving in their Downtown area due to the relatively narrow streets. Granted, much of that has to do with their city being around 130 years older than ours… but I couldn’t help but wonder how differently our Downtown would be shaped if our roads were mostly 2-3 lanes across rather than 4-6 lanes.

    To that extent, I’m wondering if road-diets ever lead to usable land recovery. This is something I’m going to have to research, but thought maybe someone else might know of some examples (*cough johnwirtz cough*) where an eight-lane expressway like Broad Street would get narrowed to four lanes and the land recovered to the side of the street becomes land that can be sold (or given away) by the city for development. I imagine some underground utilities would have to be reconfigured, and there would be some issues with properties facing the street in certain configurations, but I think it could provide a pretty unique opportunity to create new land in an area where land values are extremely high, and provide incentives for denser development, as most flat land currently existing Downtown is in the private hands of parking-lot operators who are not willing to let it go for cheap.

    All of that aside… I’m also more generally wondering… which roads in Columbus (Downtown or elsewhere) are most eligible for a Road Diet? I’m sure that can easily be determined mathematically by measuring ADT (average daily traffic) levels, but some roads seem more obvious than others when you’re driving or walking along during off-peak hours and can easily see the “shoot a cannon down the street and not hit anyone” effect.

    Which of those underutilized roads could at least use the reconfiguration of lanes for greenspace/pedestrians/bikelanes?

    Thoughts?

    #406474

    KyleEzell
    Member

    I’d say just about all of them would benefit.

    In the Short North, a street diet from Hubbard North would be fantastic. The Short North feels different north of Hubbard due to the sudden widening which kills the atmosphere (by comparison in southern section). Take away two lanes, expand the sidewalk and add trees. Would do miracles.

    #406475
    rus
    rus
    Participant

    Walker wrote >>

    Thoughts?

    So thought this thread was going to be about monster and beef jerky…

    #406476

    coolbuckeye
    Participant

    Walker I’ve heard you ponder 3rd and 4th streets future after the completion of the 71/70 split construction. I think they would be prime candidates for a road diet since they will no longer be as congested as they are now.

    #406477

    anillo
    Participant

    4th and summit when they run from like 11th to clintonville. having to walk across those streets to get to osu was awful

    #406478

    futureman
    Participant

    coolbuckeye wrote >>
    Walker I’ve heard you ponder 3rd and 4th streets future after the completion of the 71/70 split construction. I think they would be prime candidates for a road diet since they will no longer be as congested as they are now.

    The split fix won’t fix traffic congestion in northern sections of 3rd/4th in downtown because 670 will still be using them as on and off ramps. They will be still be feeders, just only for 670.

    I’d vote for spring and long for a road diet (prefer 2-way conversion over lane reduction) because they will not longer be used as primary entry and departure points from downtown because of the new lester/parsons feeders.

    #406479
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    KyleEzell wrote >>
    In the Short North, a street diet from Hubbard North would be fantastic. The Short North feels different north of Hubbard due to the sudden widening which kills the atmosphere (by comparison in southern section). Take away two lanes, expand the sidewalk and add trees. Would do miracles.

    Yeah, there is a definite aesthetic change between the southern end of the Short North and northern end. I have to imagine that a widened sidewalk could make room for quite a bit more outdoor dining in the neighborhood. Other than places set back like Fogata/Haiku/Union, it’s pretty hard to do cafe space or patio dining with such narrow sidewalks.

    anillo wrote >>
    4th and summit when they run from like 11th to clintonville. having to walk across those streets to get to osu was awful

    I’d love to see both of those streets converted to two-way (which has been studied off and on over the past few years). There’s probably enough room on both streets to keep dedicated on-street parking on both sides of the street (maybe even metered in some spots where businesses are clustered) and have two lanes in one direction and one lane in the other direction, maybe even with a thin median in some spots. If two lanes are kept headed north on Fourth and south on Third, the lights could by sync’ed to keep traffic flow steady in the directions they are already used for while slowing traffic down to a more neighborhood-friendly 25-30mph.

    futureman wrote >>

    coolbuckeye wrote >>
    Walker I’ve heard you ponder 3rd and 4th streets future after the completion of the 71/70 split construction. I think they would be prime candidates for a road diet since they will no longer be as congested as they are now.

    The split fix won’t fix traffic congestion in northern sections of 3rd/4th in downtown because 670 will still be using them as on and off ramps. They will be still be feeders, just only for 670.
    I’d vote for spring and long for a road diet (prefer 2-way conversion over lane reduction) because they will not longer be used as primary entry and departure points from downtown because of the new lester/parsons feeders.

    I’m still all about converting both feeder pairs (Spring/Long and Third/Fourth) to two-way and putting them on some sort of diet. More on that here:

    Wasted Space in Downtown: Old Highway Feeders

    As for 670 still feeding into the northern end of Downtown via Third/Fourth, I do think that configuration with on/off ramps will probably prevent those streets from being two-way between Downtown & Italian Village (unless there is a need for major reconstruction there), but I would think that you could switch to two-way within a few blocks of 670 in both directions. The traffic they feed in and out of Downtown has to start to thin out as you get further from the highway and traffic turns off onto other streets to reach their destinations. I wouldn’t think 670 traffic would have a huge impact on converting Third/Fourth to two-ways north of 1st in Italian Village or south of Spring into Downtown.

    #406480

    labi
    Participant

    ODOT recently approved funding for a study related to adding bike lanes to 4th and Summit Streets, according to Terry Stewart with the city’s traffic and mobility planning staff (who has been the lead on Weinland Park’s still-in-process “mobility plan”). I asked him last week if that research would have relevance for the one-way/two-way question and he said yes. Very exciting.

    The occasion for my question was the city’s first-ever “mobility features tour” – at which Stewart and another engineer took a group of WP residents all around Linden so we could see built versions of some of the things that may appear in the WP mobility plan. He and his colleague were clearly proud of the features they were showing us, and he was very tuned into the reductions (or not) in average speeds that they had recorded as a result of various features.

    I think I’m remembering correctly that he said that a pure “road diet” without other measures like chicanes would not reduce speeds significantly. Of course, the aesthetic issue is different question.

    #406481

    lifeliberty
    Participant

    chicanes are awesome, especially on a motorcycle. they are also a nice break from the grid pattern. I would argue they can have the effect of making one want to test the manueverability limits of the vehicle. If curves scare you, get better tires (and maybe a suspension upgrade)and hug the road.

    Looking at houses in Old North Columbus (43202) now. One-way summit and 4th is the only way! it’s one of the great things about the area.

    #406482

    futureman
    Participant

    For downtown I’d say Rich, Town, Grant, State and Main could all stand to lose a lane or two.

    From Suburbia, Zollinger and Redding in Upper Arlington are too wide

    #406483
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    labi wrote >>
    ODOT recently approved funding for a study related to adding bike lanes to 4th and Summit Streets, according to Terry Stewart with the city’s traffic and mobility planning staff (who has been the lead on Weinland Park’s still-in-process “mobility plan”). I asked him last week if that research would have relevance for the one-way/two-way question and he said yes. Very exciting.

    Definitely! Keep us posted on this if you hear more.

    labi wrote >>
    I think I’m remembering correctly that he said that a pure “road diet” without other measures like chicanes would not reduce speeds significantly. Of course, the aesthetic issue is different question.

    True, and I guess what I’m talking about isn’t just a pure “road diet” in the sense of removing lanes or just converting them to sidewalk space or dedicated non-auto bike lanes… the speed-reduction primarily comes from a sense of visually narrowing a travel space. John Wirtz posted a great visual example of this on XING, which compares three section of high street:

    Clintonville Area Commission Seeks Lower Speed Limits

    I don’t know how many people recall driving down Gay Street when it was a one-way westbound three-lane street, but it was very easy to drive 35mph through the synched lights. After it was revamped and given a “road diet” (in addition to streetscaping) it feels like you’re being dangerous if you hit 20mph in front of Tip Top. The buildings weren’t moved any closer together, but the aesthetics and visuals were changed so that slower speeds feel more necessary than they did before.

    I think the same thing could be achieved on Fourth and Third/Summit with a two-lane conversion and planted medians.

    lifeliberty wrote >>
    chicanes are awesome, especially on a motorcycle. they are also a nice break from the grid pattern.

    Yeah, I like that idea, and think it could be easily achieved on quite a few roads in Columbus that are currently straight thoroughfares set up for easy speeding. ;)

    futureman wrote >>
    For downtown I’d say Rich, Town, Grant, State and Main could all stand to lose a lane or two.

    Grant is pretty narrow in some parts, especially where there is on-street parking. I think it could stand to be a bit more uniform. On-Street parking throughout and one lane of traffic in each direction with no center turn lanes.

    +1 to each of Rich, Town, State and Main though. All great streets with some existing denser development and opportunity for more… but the ones that are one-way are far too wide, and the ones that are two way are still too many lanes for the amount of traffic they seem to serve. They’re hardly even that busy during rush hour. I’d love to see some data on what ADTs for all of these roads look like compared to the last 10, 20, 30 years.

    #406484

    hb
    Member

    There are different studies that suggest a certain daily traffic number acceptable for road diets. I’ve seen between 12,000 – 16,000 ADT as acceptable. The best scenarios for road diets are when there are 4 lanes (2 going in each direction) on an urban arterial that’s 35 mph or under, has surrounding land use density, is a potential walking/biking connection, and has attractors/generators that people want/have to walk or bike to. Usually you’ll see a large number of left turning accidents from people getting inpatient and feeling pressure to turn because they don’t have their own dedicated left turn lane. There’s more to this but I’ll just keep it at that for now. Basically – it’s safer for all users when we can reduce the lanes to one in each direction and a dedicated left turn lane, going from 4 to 3.

    It’s also recently become accepted to reduce a travel lane down to 11′ wide instead of the accepted 12′ in certain circumstances. That one foot might not seem like a lot but when added up, it’s sometimes the difference between being able to put in travel for walkers and bikers and/or safer design for other modes (buffers, refuges, etc).

    Does this gain back land? It’s usually too expensive to move all the drainage and utilities out to capture back storefront/bigger sidewalk BUT what’s totally awesome is the ability to add on street parking and bike lanes. This slows down drivers and provides for the design of all modes.

    The 4th and Summit project is one of 8 Complete Street pilot projects that ODOT is funding. I used to know the details on this one but I’ve been out of the loop on that one for a while.

    The other cool one in Columbus is a road diet on West Broad Street from Hilltop to eventually downtown (funded through ARRA and ODOT Safety Funding). Right now there will be a road diet and the addition of bike lanes/sharrows from Hilltop down to Central Ave near Franklinton. They’ve just completed the resurfacing, I saw them putting up the bike route signs late last week, and I’m eagerly awaiting the final striping! Woo Hoo!! Our cross state Ohio to Erie connection is starting to materialize. :)

    Check out what the neighborhood of Oak Cliff did to a block of street to recapture the block from too much asphalt. I think in the You Tube video, they say they did it all for less than $1,000. Very cool.

    http://www.gooakcliff.org/how-to-build-a-better-block/

    #406485

    Analogue Kid
    Participant

    I think West North Broadway could probably get away with being 1 lane in each direction with bike lanes. That would provide a nice east-west connection between UA and Clintonville.

    #406486
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    What our neighbors to the west are doing…

    Chicago exploring slimmer, trimmer roads
    Jon Hilkevitch
    9:17 p.m. CST, January 9, 2011

    Like a bulging waistline, Chicago streets have gotten fat over the years, growing wider from curb to curb to handle more vehicles.

    But a more inclusive approach to traffic management is starting to take root here, as city transportation officials prepare to launch the largest local experiment of its kind to slim down streets.

    It’s called a “road diet.” The battle of the bulge will be waged on an approximately one-mile stretch of Lawrence Avenue in the Lincoln Square neighborhood.

    READ MORE: http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/automotive/traffic/ct-met-getting-around-0110-20110109,0,377920.column

    #406487

    anillo
    Participant

    Can’t wait to see how that affects development on that stretch of road, never been there but from glancing on google maps it looks like a smaller street is much more fitting. Any guesttimate as to how much of Broad they want to put on a road diet?

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