COVID-19: The Recovery will Happen in Public Space

Road Diet Case Study: Grand-sizing Division Avenue

Jan 31, 2020
Jan 30, 2020

↵ Go Back to A Placemaker's Primer on Road Diets

Top: Division Avenue before road diet (2007). Bottom: After road diet (2015).
A pilot road diet on Division Avenue in Grand Rapids, MI, helped build support for a permanent redesign.

The Highlights

  • Annual pedestrian crash has decreased by 7%
  • Vehicle speeds decreased by 1 to 4 mph, speed limit is 30 mph
  • Increased pedestrian and bicycle flow by 13% in the morning and 57% in off-peak hours

The Details

The Division Avenue road diet project demonstrates how temporary activations can help build public support. During various public meetings, many citizens of Grand Rapids, MI had concerns about the project. In response, the City implemented the road diet for a trial period. During the pilot, it was determined that safety increased, car crashes decreased, parking increased, and vehicle speeds decreased. With new data and increased public support, the City of Grand Rapids made the road diet permanent in 2012.

Contrary to popular misconceptions, North Division Avenue is a prime example that vehicle parking can increase after a road diet. The new design also incorporated designated bike lanes that supported increased bicycle and pedestrian flow on Division Ave. This initial road diet trial period justified its permanency as residents felt more safe within the more pedestrian-centric design.

Word on the Street

"I love it. It's a little extra separation from the traffic. You feel a little safer with those extra pylons in the middle."
— Jason Smith, cyclist (24 Hour News 8, WoodTV)
"Cruising around downtown, there's lots of sights to see, but it's nice to have a little bit of extra space, a little protection."
— Eddie Johns, cyclist (24 Hour News 8, WoodTV)
Related Articles & Resources
COVID-19: The Recovery will Happen in Public Space