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Lincoln Avenue "road diet plan gets mixed evaluations

SAN JOSE — Lots of motorists are howling mad more than a new configuration that has narrowed Lincoln Avenue by means of the heart of Willow Glen to make the corridor far more friendly to bicyclists and pedestrians.

That anger is probably to spread as much more Bay Region cities pursue “road diets,” which reduce targeted traffic lanes, add bicycle lanes and expand pedestrian crossings. Backers applaud the notion for generating streets safer. Drivers stuck in slow site visitors think planners are nuts.


Hans Larsen, chief of the San Jose Division of Transportation, said feedback to the Lincoln test is split equally in between supporters and opponents. “People who are interested in a protected, calm and accessible spot for walking, shopping, dining and biking look to really like it,” Larsen mentioned. “These that are interested in passing by means of swiftly look to hate it.”

A road diet regime ordinarily requires a 4-lane city street and removes two lanes although installing a center turning lane. A security study discovered that crash frequencies at road diets had been about 6 % reduce than at comparable streets.

The city will evaluate the Lincoln trial run right after the three-month pilot project ends in May well. The city will make the adjustments from Willow Road to Coe Avenue permanent only if Willow Glen organization leaders and residents give their blessing and targeted traffic information show a minimal effect. So far much more than 300 folks have commented to the Willow Glen Neighborhood Association.

The very first 4 weeks have at occasions been chaotic: extended backups, seemingly endless red lights and drivers behaving badly.

“I hate the road diet program,” wrote Willow Glen resident Ursula Nanna, who claims her parked car or truck was sideswiped during a prolonged site visitors backup from north of Coe to Willow. “Just before even beginning my car, an impatient driver zoomed out of the site visitors lane into the bike lane to keep away from site visitors, hit my driver’s side rear bumper tough, sped off in the bike lane just before I could get any info.”

Diana Trinh, of Santa Clara, mentioned she likes the notion of a road diet regime, but she’s not confident Lincoln can deal with it.

“I don’t know if it will get far better in a handful of weeks, but I drove up Lincoln the other day and it was terrible,” Trinh wrote. “I was stuck in a line for numerous cycles, and issues were crawling up to Willow.”

The push toward road diets took off in 2008, when the state endorsed the concept of “full streets” for urban neighborhoods in which the entire streetscape, from sidewalk to sidewalk, is geared for protected access and use by nondrivers.

San Jose has narrowed ten streets more than the previous handful of years, including busy Hedding Street and now Alum Rock Avenue. San Francisco is by far the leader of this movement, with much more than 70 streets on the diet program list. Oakland converted Higher Street and Broadway. Mountain View’s downtown rejuvenation was offered a enhance when Castro Street was narrowed — restaurants, book shops and other shops flourished. Hayward removed one particular eastbound lane on C Street to strengthen pedestrian safety at the public library and a park across the street.

Morgan Hill has begun testing Monterey Road, and Sunnyvale will do the identical on Mary Avenue.

Now it really is Lincoln beneath the diet regime microscope.

“As anticipated, the initial few weeks had been a tiny rough, as commuters and neighbors adjusted to the new lane alignment,” stated Peter Allen, a board member of the Willow Glen Neighborhood Association. “There are still backups at the massive intersections at Minnesota and Willow through rush hours, but visitors flows smoothly the rest of the day.

“Most importantly, drivers are slowing down, and we’re hearing constructive reports from bicyclists and pedestrians who feel safer on Lincoln.”

Backers of road diets ask for patience and point to the recent changes on Hedding Street and Pruneridge Avenue in Santa Clara, each of which drew loud initial protests. But the complaints died down.

“Our expertise,” Larsen said, “is that the sturdy unfavorable reactions occur in the 1st month and then individuals either accept the modify or uncover other times, routes and modes to travel.”

Willow Glen resident George Cenkner currently likes the new configuration.

“Instead of the horrendous backups that were predicted, visitors is just, well, calmer,” he stated. “I suspect that people really wanting to speed are merely getting alternate routes, but who cares about them anyway?”

Road diets aren’t the only large visitors plans afoot. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority is anticipated to make a decision later this year regardless of whether to take out two lanes on El Camino Genuine from Santa Clara to Palo Alto to accommodate express buses.

Let the howling commence.

Make contact with Gary Richards at mrroadshow.com or at 408-920-5335.

PLUSES AND MINUSES OF ROAD DIETS

Positive aspects:

Two-way center turn lane permits safer left turns, for the reason that turning website traffic does not force following website traffic to adjust lanes or quit.
Encourages cycling with 5- to six-foot bike lanes.
Pedestrians have to have to cross fewer lanes of traffic.
Higher space involving oncoming targeted traffic as center-turn lane acts as a buffer.
Enables installation of wider sidewalks.

Disadvantages:

Added congestion for the duration of commute periods.
Drivers divert to side streets.
Parking on narrow streets can block view of drivers.
Much less parking in some situations.

Staff reporting

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