Are these complete streets or road diets? Answer: these streets are working, so who cares?

Can there be anything closer to a free lunch than a road diet? Let’s review:

  • Improved vehicle flow
  • Lowered speeds
  • Lowered crash rates
  • Safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users
Finally, it accomplishes all of the above within a road’s original right of way and without a lot of added $. The Road Diet, as a tool for completing streets and improving safety, is now seeing widespread adoption by DOTs, and FHWA’s recent endorsement of the road diet as a proven safety countermeasure will–I hope–further accelerate its adoption.

When it comes to implementation of road diets no city has more experience than Seattle, which has been doing them since 1972. Over the years, Seattle has performed 33 road diets, often on very high volume corridors. Results: up to a 70% reduction in injury crashes, and a 90% reduction in aggressive speeding on dieted roads.

Brian Dougherty of Seattle DOT will be leading a road diet session at Pro Walk/Pro Bike 2012. ¬†Attend his panel session to learn about everything from how to evaluate a corridor for treatment, how to optimize travel time, and how to address community concerns. It’s that last one that can really set back a complete streets program.

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