Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Windshield Survey (with frequent updates)

One of the top concerns regarding converting the soon-to-be-former downtown lanes of I-70 into a new at-grade boulevard is how to handle the truck traffic.

With the rerouting of I-70 north of downtown over the new Mississippi River bridge, all of the east and west bound I-70 through truck traffic currently using the depressed lanes and Poplar Street Bridge will be diverted away from downtown over the new bridge.

However, to get an idea of the volume of truck traffic through the area today, this week I started doing my own survey. I've been counting oversized vehicle traffic along the depressed lanes continuing south on I-55 toward South County.

To date, I've completed three counts. When counting I count all oversized vehicles coming in the opposite direction, plus all the oversized vehicles travelling in front of me and behind me as far as I can see in my direction. The counts are being taken during morning rush hour.

The first count was on northbound 55 between Gasconade and exiting Memorial Drive at around 7:15 am (about 3.5 miles). Total oversized vehicle traffic: 41 vehicles

The second count was taken from Memorial Drive through southbound 55 to the Germania exit (about 6.5 miles) at around 8:15 am: Total oversized vehicle traffic: 59 vehicles

The third count was taken on northbound 55 from River des Peres through to the Memorial Drive exit at about 8:50 am: Total oversized vehicle traffic: 61 vehicles.

We are counting school buses and UPS sized panel trucks, but not pickup-styled small contractor trucks.

School buses and panel vans comprise about 1/2 the total oversized vehicle counts. Full size over the road tractor trailers comprise about the other 50%.

Compared to total vehicle traffic, oversized vehicles appear to take up less than 10 percent of all traffic through the area. Truck traffic is present, but does not appear to be an overly high percentage of overall traffic volume.

UPDATE - Thursday, May 27

Counting cars at 6:36 am on northbound I-55 from River Des Peres to the Memorial Drive exit, there were a total of 63 oversized vehicles, with approximately half of them school buses. So many school buses on the highway in the morning makes you wonder if all those buses are carrying kids headed toward St. Louis County as part of the deseg program?


Arthur Lieber said...

Rick, not promises here, but perhaps we can help you with this kind of empirical evidence gathering. -- Arthur

samizdat said...

As you drive the Interstate system into St. Louis and other cities, you will notice signs a few miles out which point out that taking the ring road will allow you to bypass that particular Metro area. I wonder how many of those large vehicles you saw in your informal survey were passing through, and how many were making there way to a local delivery. I think with signage any possible confusion regarding destinations and directions could be mitigated to an extent which would mollify most of those who doubt the City to River efforts. Remember that there were many (hello, City Streets Dept.) who were skeptical--nay, dismissive--of the traffic calming configuration on Grand, and lo, and behold, the sky did not fall, and civilisation as we know it did not fail. Oh, yeah, and it worked.