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Road improvements? No, road impairments

Mixing high speed traffic and people on foot or bikes is a recipe for disaster. The findings of a Palm Beach MPO study bear this out, showing the extraordinarily dangerous nature of the county’s arterial road network. Below is a map showing the hot spots identified. Thanks to Wes Blackman for reporting on this MPO meeting and recording it. [links to Wes’ blog and video recording of meeting here]

“Very similar intersections. Very similar land uses. Unfortunately, very similar outcomes.” –  consultant speaking  regarding Military Trail/Okeechobee intersection and Military Trail/Forest Hill intersection

 

The map is revealing, but it’s not surprising to readers of this blog. Discussions about road safety tend to focus on band-aid fixes but gloss over the more fundamental issue at hand. What’s not often discussed is the nature of these dangerous roadways and their adjacent land development pattern. The common denominator?

 

They’re all stroads.

What’s a stroad? It’s a word coined by Strong Towns founder Chuck Marohn to describe what he calls “The futon of transportation options”, in that it neither moves cars quickly and safely from point A to B (a road) nor does it provide an enjoyable human habitat for people to gather and enjoy life in public space (a street). When you put lots of people in a complex environment with cars moving fast, you get lots of crashes. Here is a video explaining what a stroad is. Stroads are low tax productivity yielding, high crash inducing, human meat grinders of junk infrastructure. No matter where you’re from, think of the ugliest, most generic road in town and it’s probably a stroad. With the exception of a couple blocks of urban Atlantic Avenue, where the sheer number of people walking are likely responsible for a spike in the numbers, every one of the segments identified is a stroad in varying degrees.

 

 

Palm Beach County is full of stroads and they’re difficult to deal with. These problems can’t all be put on the traffic engineers either because adjacent land uses have a lot to do with the stroadification of our county; it’s not just about the road’s geometry but what it is adjacent to. Look at Indiantown Road as a good example, a stroad-in-progress. It’s the result of many small decisions to diminish its efficacy as a road over time. Add a turn lane here, a traffic signal there. The new subdivision demands another light 500 feet away. Before you know it, cars are stopping, switching lanes, and turning so often that the road’s effectiveness as a high speed connection between two places is severely compromised. All these movements and differences in speeds make it a dangerous environment for everyone involved: drivers, bicyclists, people walking. And all these intensified land uses (yet low tax yielding) around it generate more traffic of various modes and more crashes. Since stroads aren’t streets and don’t operate at slow speed as streets do, crashes are very serious when they happen.

All this new car-oriented development along a stroad necessitates lots of turn pockets and traffic signals in order to access the strip malls and subdivisions that flourish in a car-only environment. With each new development, more degradation of the road takes places. Over time, it becomes more like Okeechobee Boulevard, with so much stop-and-go and traffic lights that it takes 15 minutes to drive 3 miles.

Changes to the roadway design are often said to be “improvements” or “upgrades”, but the question must be asked: Improvements for whom? A new traffic signal for Wal-Mart is a great advantage for Wal-Mart, but doesn’t serve people trying to get from point A to point B quickly; for those people, it is an impairment to the functioning of the road rather than an improvement.

At the next public meeting when the traffic engineer suggests a “road improvement”, ask that it be called a “road impairment” instead.

Many of these stroads were created over time in a process of degradation, from road to stroad. I’m reminded of an image posted on the Historic Boynton Beach Facebook page, depicting Congress Avenue in 1964. Notice the simple geometry and lack of signals, driveways, turn pockets, etc. It used to work as a road before it got ‘stroadified’ into the monstrosity that it is today, mucked up by all the subdivisions and forgettable strip malls that line it today. You can’t get anywhere fast driving on Congress Avenue, but nor can you walk along it without fearing for your life.

Congress and Hypoluxo, 1964

Congress and Hypoluxo as it looks today.

The best of the worst

stroad-diagramOver time, an environment is created that was never designed to safely accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists and never will.  The best that can be done now with many of these crash hot spots is to slap some special “countermeasures” in the road design to try and make matters a little less intolerable. It’s not an easy job, but it’s important to do what we can to make conditions a little safer for the vulnerable populations that tend to be victims of these poorly designed environments. All that can be done is to try to make it the best of the worst at this stage.

 

Let’s make these dangerous stroads a little less dangerous where we can. But most importantly, let’s stop building them in the first place. Rather than an inexorable decline, let’s build town centers and neighborhoods with great streets and keep our roads functioning as connections between these great places.


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Increased traffic projections are the tail wagging the dog of DOTs

I took a few minutes to respond to two of the questions posed in the ‘share your ideas’ section of the US DOT “Beyond Traffic” website. The Beyond Traffic report begins with a letter, proclaiming that the document is all about opening “a national dialogue about what our country really needs and why we need it.” It then proceeds with the type of fear-mongering that is typically reserved for organizations like the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the other members of the asphalt lobby.


But our lead has slipped away. We are behind. Way behind.

The quality of our roads, for example, is no longer rated No. 1.

We’re No. 16.

And it is not just that our infrastructure is showing its age—our country, in many ways, has outgrown it. If you drive a car, you now spend, on average, the equivalent of five vacation days every year sitting in traffic. If you drive a truck, highway congestion has made you an expert at navigating bumpy side roads—and you are not alone. Every year, trucks are losing $27 billion on wasted time and fuel.

In this report, we not only analyzed the condition and performance of our transportation system today, but forecasted how it will look and perform 30 years from now if we fail to develop a new game plan.

Beyond Traffic reveals that, if we don’t change, in 2045, the transportation system that powered our rise as a nation will instead slow us down. Transit systems will be so backed up that riders will wonder not just when they will get to work, but if they will get there at all. At the airports, and on the highway, every day will be like Thanksgiving is today.

Interspersed throughout the report are reminders about the strain our highway system faces if we don’t do something (read: 2015-10-07 20_09_03-Draft_Beyond_Traffic_Framework.pdf - Adobe Acrobatmore money for more expansions), and prognosticating on the continued suburbanization of the United States. Far from an open dialogue, the rules of the game were set well in advance: You can talk about any transportation idea you want, as long as you talk about increasing the funds needed to keep doing more of the same.

https___www_transportation_gov_sites_dot_gov_files_docs_Draft_Beyond_Traffic_Framework_pdf

The FHWA projection becomes self-fulfilling prophecy. We project a large increase in vehicle miles traveled, therefore we need more lane miles to stop the congestion. This is the same losing battle we’ve been fighting the past 50+ years to no avail.

We’ve confused cause and effect. The new lane miles we’re building are themselves responsible for the increases in the quantity of vehicles miles traveled. When a good is provided as a common resource and not priced properly, it leads to a tragedy of the commons. In this case, the commons we are talking about is not pasture land, but roadway capacity, and the overgrazing is the congestion we’re experiencing.

Here were my answers to the Beyond Traffic survey. I didn’t spend much time on it because it’s obvious where the report is headed: Another plea for more money to do more of the same.

Question 1:  Are there any additional trends that will impact our nation’s transportation system over the next 30 years?

 I don’t know, and neither do you. That’s why we need market mechanisms to work their magic and allocate scarce resources by using user fees like VMT and congestion fees to price roadways, rather than pursuing engineering solutions such as never ending road expansions.

Question 3: What other ideas do you believe should be considered in the final “Beyond Traffic” framework that will advance our nation’s transportation system over the next 30 years?

 Give a copy of Chuck Marohn’s “A World Class Transportation System” to every staff person, policymaker, and public official involved in this process. Read it and implement its ideas.
http://www.amazon.com/World-Class-Transportation-System-Finance-ebook/dp/B00NDAB65W

The series of essays:
http://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2014/3/3/day-1-a-world-class-transportation-system.html

Here is a different set of questions for the DOT to ask, questions that get to the deeper causes of our problems, rather than continuing to steer the Titanic towards the iceberg.

Questions to consider.

  • If more is better, why is all the money we’ve poured into new construction not generating the financial return necessary for system maintenance?
  • Why do our congested roads typically fill up to capacity within several years of adding additional lane miles?
  • Why does so much of what we build end up declining within a 20 – 25 year life cycle? Why is its property tax yield orders of magnitude lower than that of traditionally designed neighborhoods?
  • Is car dependent sprawl really the result of market forces, expressing our desire for an “Anyplace, USA”  monotonous landscape of the same big boxes, chains, and hypersized roadways everywhere?
  • Why is the conventional development that is being delivered opposed so vehemently by anyone who lives near it?
  • The end result of all our spending is completely predictable and plays out everywhere in the same way. The video below is a short clip of such a disposable place; I’m sure you have a similar looking place in your town, likely built within the past 50 years. It’s “a place not worth caring about”, as James Howard Kunstler would put it. Why are we throwing more money at a system that is producing such junk that doesn’t produce enough wealth to sustain itself?

Until DOT (and by extension all highway organizations) comes to grips with its failed strategy, we’ll continue chasing our tail, pursuing more new lane miles in order to ‘cure’ ourselves of the congestion we are in fact creating. Our highway slush fund doesn’t match user demand with a pricing signal to allocate scarce resources, but it does provide instant gratification in the form of increased tax base in the short term from auto-oriented development.  That growth comes with huge financial obligations that are not considered in the election cycle obsessed, ribbon cutting oriented growth model we have been following.

We need an entirely new model, not more of the same.

[For a more in depth analysis of transportation reform, read the book “Transportation in the Next American City” ebook by Chuck Marohn. Lots of great content over at Strong Towns on transportation funding reform and building financially strong places.]

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Auto-oriented development is a huge experiment

I’m a member, enthusiast, and content contributor for Strong Towns, and Strong Towns has been producing a series of videos to distill the essentials of the organization’s message. In one of the recent videos, titled “Auto-Oriented Development”, Walkable West Palm Beach contributed B-roll footage of the lovable Okeechobee Boulevard, showcasing an example of a productive, safe transportation investment. If you didn’t catch the sarcasm there, you need to subscribe to the blog. Skip ahead to 2:00 to see the Okeechobee Stroad footage.

Please share the video, and if you want to help build more walkable neighborhoods and stronger towns, there is no better organization to contribute to than Strong Towns. I encourage you to head over to their website and become a member. [Thanks to aGuyonClematis for reminding me about these videos and sharing one of them on the Engage West Palm Beach forum.]

 


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Australian Avenue alternative

Palm Beach County proposes to add an additional southbound lane on Australian Avenue north and south of Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard between 7th and 15th street. The County project is vehemently opposed by residents in the area. This post will discuss WalkableWPB’s design proposal for Australian Avenue, the status of the County’s project, and the myriad of policy issues this project has exposed.

WalkableWPB Proposal:

Here is a photo of the section of Australian Avenue where the County proposes to add the third lane:

australian_ave_existing

With the County’s plan a third lane would be added in the above picture between the road and the sidewalk.

Here is an aerial view of the road. Note in the photo that the existing right of way is at the back of the sidewalk and has a width of 106′. The 106′ dimension will be critical in developing a design solution.

Australian Avenue Aerial

Australian Avenue Aerial

Prior to learning about the County’s proposal residents along the road were already unhappy with Australian Avenue. Their major concerns are the recent removal of existing street trees (shown in the above photo) in the swale, difficulty of backing out from residential driveways onto Australian, hostile roadway environment for pedestrians and property values, lack of bicycle facilities, and the illegality of parking in the swale.

Based on the residents concerns and the present and future traffic growth trends for Australian Avenue WalkableWPB is proposing that the road remain four lanes and that one-way access roads be added to each side. With the one way access roads Australian Avenue would become a multiway boulevard. A good precedent for this type of roadway is the Esplanade in Chico, California shown here:

Esplanade Chico California

Esplanade Chico California

and in google street view:

Below are sketchup models of Australian Avenue with the addition of one way access roads.

Australian Avenue - Proposed Multiway Boulevard

Australian Avenue – Proposed Multiway Boulevard

australian_02

Australian Ave.- Proposed Multiway Boulevard

Australian Avenue - Proposed Multiway Boulevard section with dimenions

Australian Avenue – Proposed Multiway Boulevard section with dimenions

Multiway boulevards have made an appearance on the blog before. In fact, the most popular post on the blog was an April fool’s day spoof where we reported that Okeechobee Boulevard was going to become a multiway boulevard. An excellent summary of why you would use a multiway boulevard follows from the ITE Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares Manual:

The multiway boulevard is an alternative to conventional higher-volume, higher-speed arterial streets. This thoroughfare type may be used where the community’s objective is to accommodate urban mixed use or residential development and a walkable environment on corridors with high traffic demands. A multiway boulevard combines a central thoroughfare for higher-speed through movements bordered by landscaped medians that separate the central thoroughfare from one-way access lanes on each side of the boulevard. The access lanes provide for slower local traffic, parking, bicycle travel and a pedestrian oriented streetside and are designed to discourage through traffic. Multiway boulevards may be considered where a community desires to make a very wide arterial street more pedestrian friendly yet recognizes the need to retain traffic capacity.

The proposed one-way access roads for Australian Avenue address all of the residents concerns. In order to fit within the existing 106′ right of way and avoid the taking of residents property the one-way access road does not have parallel parking. It is unusual  to have multiway boulevard with a large number of driveways and without on-street parking, but it is appropriate for Australian Avenue as the roadway frontage consists of suburban ranch style houses. If desired, parallel parking spaces could be added to the proposed boulevard between the existing driveways either on the sidewalk side or by narrowing the outside median between trees, but either option would require additional right of way from the property owner.

You may be wondering how can a one-way access road and outside tree lined buffer fit and not require the residents to give up any of their property? In order for it to fit Australian Avenue will have to go on a road diet fitting with its 35 mile per hour speed limit, school zone, and abutting residential properties. The diet includes narrowing the median to 10′ and 11.5′ wide outside lane consisting of 10′ of pavement and 1.5′ wide gutter pan. On the access road, a 9′ lane is used with an additional 1.5′ wide gutter pan for a total width of 10.5′.

Multiway Boulevards are quite common in European cities such as Paris, but they are few and far between in the United States. Surprisingly, nearby Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard west of I-95 has a section that is a multiway boulevard. The Palm Beach Lakes section is not the best example as its access roads are too wide and lack a deciduous tree canopy. It isn’t perfect, but that portion of Palm Beach Lakes does show how the access road and the center road can be different realms. The photo earlier in the post of the Esplanade in Chico California shows how beautiful these roads can be with a great tree canopy and we could fill page after page with beautiful European examples.

The best book to learn more about multiway boulevards is the the Boulevard Book by Allan Jacobs. You can also read his earlier studies on multiway boulevards for free online at the University of California Transportation Center :

http://www.uctc.net/papers/248.pdf

http://www.uctc.net/papers/300.pdf

http://www.uctc.net/papers/500.pdf

Status of County Project:

On Monday April 14th County staff held a public meeting at City Hall to discuss the project. At the meeting County Engineer George Webb stunned residents when he began his presentation stating that he understood that the people in the room didn’t want the current project and that he wasn’t going to force the project on them. He explained that Australian Avenue’s drainage system is in need of repairs. He explained that the County has different funding sources for roadways which include gas tax and impact fees. Impact fees can only be spent on roadway capacity projects and that the County’s design for an additional third southbound lane north and south of the Palm Beach Lakes intersection was an attempt to provide a capacity project that would also fix the maintenance issues on Australian Avenue. He also explained that the County is very short on gas tax money for maintenance and that it would be a very long time before Australian Avenue was repaired with gas tax funds.

Several options were suggested such as killing the project, transferring the road to the City, or developing a more palatable roadway capacity project. No decision was made.

Policy Issues:

It was shocking to hear County staff say that there was money for shiny new roads, but no money for maintenance of existing roads. Palm Beach County is experiencing what Strong Towns founder Chuck Marohn has termed the second life cycle of the suburban growth ponzi scheme. The maintenance bill on our 1960 and 1970s suburbs is due and there isn’t enough gas tax to pay for the repairs, but we have this huge pile of cash to build new roads.

One must wonder how the County project had gotten so far along in design without the City objecting. Does the City have any input on County projects in the City? Do the County and City work together to identify mutually agreeable projects in the City? The City, correctly, doesn’t support the County’s design and it is quite easy to criticize. It is much more difficult to develop a project than to criticize. Does the City have any better ideas for more palatable capacity projects to spend the impact fees?

Finally, what qualifies for adding capacity – Can a project that shifts people from their cars to other modes qualify, e.g. a cycle track?


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Quadrille Boulevard Make Over

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:

FDOT response roskowski quadrille blvd 2 FDOT response roskowski quadrille blvd 3

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.

tdlc_lane_width

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:

IMG_3851

IMG_3847

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:

quadrille-banyan-3rd-fdot

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 :

Option 1 

quadrille-banyan-3rd-buffered-bike

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.

Option 2

quadrille-half-multi-way-blvd

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:

Option 3

quadrille-five-lane-w-bike

Here is the proposal for the five lane section in the Jeff Speck study:

Option 4

quadrille-five-lane-w-parallel-parking

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.


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Quadrille Boulevard could be first to be redesigned for livability, safety

Last week, I received a letter with FDOT responses to public comment made at the August 27th open house meeting regarding the project to resurface and restripe Quadrille Boulevard from Clematis Street north to Dixie.

Quadrille blvd TIP project MPO

Project details from FDOT

To briefly recap the meeting, about ten stakeholders showed up. Every single person was united in a desire for more livable street design and safety, including narrowing of travel lanes and addition of some combination of bike lanes and/or parallel parking. I did not hear anyone express enthusiasm for the FDOT plan as it stood and a good deal of the conversation was a hearty debate about Lane width, with many present attacking FDOT for building dangerous by design roads through our city. Mr. Le, PE, stated that FDOT essentially does not allow lanes of less than 11′ on a road with a design speed of 35 mph or greater. This begs the question: why does FDOT feels it is necessary to have a design speed well over 35 mph through an urban core, with all the data indicating how speed kills? Why are our roads designed to prioritize speed, rather than safety?

At one point in the meeting, after listening patiently to the engineers explain their plan for their stretch of roadway ad nauseum, I interjected strongly to state our position for what we want, as a resident and representative of our neighborhood. It was apparent that the officials were merely going through the motions, checking off the necessary boxes in a process to lead FDOT to where they want to end up. Unsurprisingly, the response letter I received reflected this, essentially dismissing all of the comment myself and others made. At least I included Speck’s recommendations for this segment of Quadrille and it is in the public record, for what it’s worth.

This is a very timely debate as the public’s simmering discontent over dangerous by design county and FDOT roads builds to a boil. Jeff Speck’s article last week puts the onus on FDOT to prove why 10′ lanes shouldn’t be built in an urban setting, with ample evidence to back up the safety benefits. For its part, FDOT has recently issued a memo supporting Complete Streets, a positive move in the right direction for which they are to be applauded. Meanwhile, on a project for which they could make a safer and more responsive choice, today, by simply restriping lanes differently, FDOT is ignoring this mandate. Cognitive dissonance, anyone?

Even our local MPO director is pushing for safer designs that account for all users. He recommends we start with resurfacing projects such as this one. It doesn’t have to cost a bunch of money. From the Sun Sentinel:

“We need to think about reconstructing what we have in a better fashion,” said Palm Beach Metropolitan Planning Organization executive director Nick Uhren, at a recent meeting. “How do we implement complete streets in resurfacing projects? How do we improve safety on roads for cyclists and pedestrians?”

The Palm Beach Metropolitan Planning Organization, the county’s transportation planning agency, is pushing for the concept.

As the planning organization is updating its long-range plan, it has added the implementation of complete streets principles as one of its top goals with the focus on redevelopment areas and urban centers such as downtowns.

Here’s what the Federal Highway Administration’s PEDSAFE tool recommends for Quadrille Boulevard. Fewer lanes, lane narrowing, and bike lanes top recommendations.

Pedestrian_Safety_Guide_and_Countermeasure_Selection_System

FDOT has an opportunity to align words with deeds and make our streets safer and more livable, now.  Let’s take the opportunity to restripe this roadway in a manner that supports complete streets and safer transportation for all users.


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Why 12-Foot Traffic Lanes Are Disastrous for Safety and Must Be Replaced Now | via CityLab

If you’ve been following the walkability study for downtown, you know how crucial 10 foot lanes on Okeechobee Boulevard are to the plan. Jeff Speck makes a persuasive argument for 10′ lanes in urban areas in this article in CityLab.

The agency’s bike and pedestrian coordinator, Billy Hattaway, is one of the good ones. But does he have the power to move FDOT to a 10-foot standard?

Moving beyond Florida, the task is clear. Our lives are currently being put at risk daily by fifty state DOTs and hundreds of county road commissions who mistakenly believe that high-speed street standards make our cities and towns safer. In my most considered opinion, these agencies have blood on their hands, and more than a little. There are many standards that they need to change, but the easiest and most important is probably the 12-foot lane. Armed with the facts, we can force this change. But only if we do it together.

It’s time to push this discussion to its logical conclusion. Until conflicting evidence can be mustered, the burden of proof now rests with the DOTs. Until they can document otherwise, every urban 12-foot lane that is not narrowed to 10 feet represents a form of criminal negligence; every injury and death, perhaps avoidable, not avoided—by choice.

In the meantime, I welcome evidence to the contrary. We’ve shown them our studies; now let them show us theirs. Unless, of course, they’ve thrown them out.

Via CityLab.  Why 12-Foot Traffic Lanes Are Disastrous for Safety and Must Be Replaced Now – CityLab.

Past stories on Okeechobee Stroad: https://walkablewpb.com/tag/okeechobee-stroad/