Thursday, December 13, 2012

Traffic Compromise

Busier neighborhood streets serve two purposes - they move traffic and they are shopping districts for neighborhoods. Unfortunately, most of them do a better job moving traffic than they do serving neighborhoods, as is evidenced by the often tattered appearances of the edges of our neighborhoods formed by these busy streets.

What if there was a way to accommodate both purposes - to move traffic and better serve adjoining neighborhoods? Here's a suggestion. Consider Hampton Avenue between Nottingham and Loughborough for example.

Through this stretch, Hampton is six lanes wide. The two outside lanes double as parking lanes with two through lanes in each direction. Traffic moves quickly, parking is difficult among speeding cars, and left turns are treacherous. What if the city were to restripe the lanes and restrict parking?

Instead of the current six lane configuration, what would happen if the road were restriped to create five lanes, including a two-way center turn lane plus two additional lanes in each direction? Fewer lanes would allow for slightly wider parking lanes.

To maximize traffic flow during peak commute times, say from 6-9 AM mornings and from 4-7 pm evenings, Monday through Friday, no parking would be posted in the outside lanes, keeping two through lanes in each direction for those busy hours.

Then during the rest of the day and on weekends, street parking is allowed in the outside lanes, leaving only one through lane in each direction plus the center turn lane? Would such an arrangement make the area more walkable, be better for neighborhood businesses, and safer for drivers?