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Lincoln Avenue "road diet program gets mixed testimonials

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 a lot more friendly to bicyclists and pedestrians.

That anger is likely to spread as more Bay Area cities pursue “road diets,” which decrease targeted traffic lanes, add bicycle lanes and expand pedestrian crossings. Backers applaud the concept for creating streets safer. Drivers stuck in slow traffic feel planners are nuts.


Hans Larsen, chief of the San Jose Department of Transportation, mentioned feedback to the Lincoln test is split equally in between supporters and opponents. “Folks who are interested in a safe, calm and accessible spot for walking, shopping, dining and biking seem to appreciate it,” Larsen said. “Those that are interested in passing via promptly appear to hate it.”

A road diet program ordinarily requires a 4-lane city street and removes two lanes though installing a center turning lane. A safety study found that crash frequencies at road diets have been around six percent reduced than at comparable streets.

The city will evaluate the Lincoln trial run soon after the three-month pilot project ends in Might. The city will make the changes from Willow Road to Coe Avenue permanent only if Willow Glen business enterprise leaders and residents give their blessing and traffic data show a minimal effect. So far far more than 300 folks have commented to the Willow Glen Neighborhood Association.

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

“I hate the road diet plan,” wrote Willow Glen resident Ursula Nanna, who claims her parked vehicle was sideswiped for the duration of a prolonged targeted traffic backup from north of Coe to Willow. “Prior to even beginning my car or truck, an impatient driver zoomed out of the website traffic lane into the bike lane to stay away from targeted traffic, hit my driver’s side rear bumper difficult, sped off in the bike lane prior to I could get any information.”

Diana Trinh, of Santa Clara, said she likes the idea of a road eating plan, but she’s not certain Lincoln can handle it.

“I do not know if it will get superior in a couple of weeks, but I drove up Lincoln the other day and it was terrible,” Trinh wrote. “I was stuck in a line for several cycles, and points were crawling up to Willow.”

The push toward road diets took off in 2008, when the state endorsed the notion of “complete 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 over the past few years, which includes 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 plan list. Oakland converted High Street and Broadway. Mountain View’s downtown rejuvenation was offered a increase when Castro Street was narrowed — restaurants, book retailers 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 exact same on Mary Avenue.

Now it really is Lincoln under the diet program microscope.

“As anticipated, the 1st couple of weeks had been a small 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 nonetheless backups at the major intersections at Minnesota and Willow throughout rush hours, but site visitors flows smoothly the rest of the day.

“Most importantly, drivers are slowing down, and we’re hearing positive 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 knowledge,” Larsen mentioned, “is that the robust negative reactions happen in the 1st month and then people today either accept the transform or come across other instances, routes and modes to travel.”

Willow Glen resident George Cenkner already likes the new configuration.

“Instead of the horrendous backups that have been predicted, website traffic is just, nicely, calmer,” he mentioned. “I suspect that folks definitely wanting to speed are just discovering alternate routes, but who cares about them anyway?”

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

Let the howling commence.

Speak to 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 site visitors does not force following visitors to change lanes or stop.
Encourages cycling with five- to six-foot bike lanes.
Pedestrians need to have to cross fewer lanes of targeted traffic.
Higher space among oncoming site visitors as center-turn lane acts as a buffer.
Enables installation of wider sidewalks.

Disadvantages:

Added congestion in the course of commute periods.
Drivers divert to side streets.
Parking on narrow streets can block view of drivers.
Less parking in some cases.

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