Today’s guest, Baron Haussman, was a French civic planner whose name is associated with the rebuilding of Paris. Georges-Eugène Haussmann (1809–1891), who called himself Baron Haussmann, was commissioned by Napoleon III to instigate a program of planning reforms in Paris. Haussmann laid out the Bois de Boulogne, and made extensive improvements in the smaller parks. A new water supply, a gigantic system of sewers, new bridges, the opera house, and other public buildings, the inclusion of outlying districts – these were among the new prefect’s achievements, accomplished by the aid of a bold handling of the public funds. (Planetizen)
This post is borne out of the frustration with FDOT’s current plans for the resurfacing of Quadrille Boulevard. In this post we will demonstrate that is possible to transform Quadrille Boulevard utilizing FDOT’s own design standards. As a recap, FDOT’s current plan for resurfacing Quadrille is basically to put back what we currently have. At the August 27th FDOT open house several savvy citizens pointed out to FDOT that this road has excess pavement and there is an opportunity to right size this road at minimum cost with their resurfacing project. Suggestions made by citizens ranged from bike lanes or the addition of on-street parking on one side of the road. The City for its part recently completed a study by Jeff Speck that recommended right-sizing lanes to provide parallel parking on one side of the street.
FDOT did respond to our suggestions. Here is the response letter to one citizen:
Frankly, FDOT is wrong in their response to the citizen stating that 10’ lanes aren’t allowed on state highways. FDOT’s primary design manual is the Plans Preparation Manual (PPM). The PPM contains a very interesting chapter titled Transportation Design for Livable Communities (TDLC). The TDLC chapter is tucked away at the end of the manual far and away from the geometric requirements for highways and stroads. As shown in the following table from the TDLC chapter there is a footnote that allows thru lanes to be reduced from 11’ to 10’ in width in highly restricted areas with design speeds less than or equal to 35 MPH, having little or no truck traffic.
FDOT has already approved a 30 MPH design and posted speed limit for Quadrille. So it possible to utilize 10’ wide lanes. Another thing to keep in mind about Quadrille is that the year 2013 AADT is 10,600. This means that a three lane section is sufficient for the entire project. In FDOT’s project limits Quadrille currently varies from 3 to 5 lanes. The roadway has a fairly consistent 59′ width of pavement excluding the gutter pan. You have another three feet if you count the gutter pan and the Florida Greeenbook TND chapter allows the gutter pan to be counted as a part of travel lane. Here are few pictures of the five lane section:
The current roadway context reads racetrack and not 30 MPH urban core. What would 10’ wide travel lanes allow for Quadrille? First, let us start with FDOT current proposal for the existing 59′ of pavement for the section from Banyan to 3rd:
Basically they are going to perpetuate bad design and provide 15′ travel lanes!!! That is some serious extra pavement. What is unconscionable is FDOT response in the letter that they wouldn’t stripe a buffer for the parallel parking since the parallel parking lanes meet the minimum width. Funny that they have no problem having a travel lane exceed the minimum standard width, but heaven forbid you want to narrow the travel lane to the minimum and have a parallel parking lane exceed the minimum width. With that extra width in the parallel parking lane someone might be able to safely open their driver side car door without being hit and the narrower travel lane might slow cars down to the 30 MPH speed limit.
Below are a several potential roadway configurations of what might be possible if we were to right size the road. It should be noted that these concepts are preliminary and need further analysis for feasibility. Issues such as right turn lanes at intersections, (if needed as right turn lanes and walkability aren’t a good mix), and horizontal alignment for roadway transitions haven’t been analyzed, but they give you a quick idea of what might be possible :
By utilizing 10′ lanes then bike lanes are a real possibility. Note that parallel parking proposed is 7.5′ wide, but FDOT”s standard is 8′ wide. This 6″ reduction in width might require a variance, but I think it is useful to provide a slightly wider buffer for the bike lane. I would love an extra two to three feet of extra pavement, but this proposal is a dramatic improvement over the placing of a bike lane next to parallel parking without a buffer. The purpose of the buffer is to reduce injuries when a parallel parked car opens their door into the bike lane. Also, note that the parallel parked cars position provides a wall of steel to protect cyclists. If you want your City to attract millennials, then you need buffered bike lanes.
Next we have an interesting twist on the parallel parking on one side of the road concept.
A partial lane reduction allows a multiway boulevard (access road) with parallel parking to be built on one side of the road. The access road functions as a low speed sharrow and there is room for a bike lane on the other side of the road. A good example of the sharrow bike lane in the access road is Octavio Blvd. in San Francisco. The Dutch are also fans of the multi-way boulevard access road – sharrow – treatment to retrofit existing facilities. Dixie Highway near the intersection with Bridge Road in Hobe Sound Florida has a multi-way boulevard on side of the road. Another advantage is that parallel parking is a breeze with the access road and who wouldn’t want to walk on a sidewalk that is buffered by a slow speed access road?
Here is another option that would add bike lanes to the existing five lane section:
Here is the proposal for the five lane section in the Jeff Speck study:
Looking at the above typical sections it is hard to believe that all of them use the same 59′ of existing pavement. The sections above were created using a free website called Streetmix . Streetmix is very easy to use.
With all the press releases about how FDOT gets complete streets I am shocked to see that a street in a downtown urban core with a 30 MPH design speed with 15′ existing travel lanes was scoped as a project to put back what you already have.
So what needs to be done next? I would suggest that you write to FDOT Secretary Prasad, copy your elected officials, and request that you would like to have FDOT investigate alternative typical sections that right size this road. The right sizing can take many forms from parking to bike lanes. If you like one of the designs in the post then I would go ahead and include it in your letter. Ask FDOT why can’t the road be striped the way you want? Make sure to mention Transportation Design for Livable Communities (TDLC). Hopefully, rational voices will prevail and FDOT can engage in a meaningful dialog with the citizens of West Palm Beach on the right size configuration of Quadrille.
Also, I would like the City to formally request FDOT to employ their TDLC procedures to develop concepts for Quadrille Boulevard which increase parking and / or provide bike facilities. Maybe Quadrille Boulevard could serve as a model for how FDOT implements complete streets with resurfacing projects.