Here are a few voices from the neighborhood. Feel free to send us yours and we’ll do our best to include it, if appropriate.
The following have been posted in Front Porch Forum previously:
My driveway opens directly onto Williston Road near Chappel’s Florist. I love the three-lane system and it seems to be a great improvement. Sure, at peak hours there’s often a line of cars, but people are invariably courteous about letting us in or out. (There were lines back in the days of the four-lane configuration, too.) This system feels much safer for left turns across traffic. I was skeptical at first, but now I see the advantages.
My wife and I moved to the New North End in August from Madison, WI. She bikes to her job as a UVM lecturer (5 miles), and I prefer to bike to the bank, grocery, hardware, etc.
We support the proposed lane reconfiguration of North Avenue — because we saw it work in Madison when a busy (17,000-cars/day Sherman Avenue) street near our home was converted from four lanes to three, just as proposed here, to promote bicycle use. It was controversial, particularly because commuters feared backups, and businesses feared loss of traffic. The city tried the new configuration, and studied it for 18 months. Here are the results.
- Car-bicycle accidents dropped to zero.
- Overall auto accidents dropped dramatically. Most accidents involve turning across lanes.
- Traffic slowed a tad, but was still over the posted limit. It did not add significantly to a commute, nor did it push traffic onto side residential streets or other routes. The Madison street included a railroad crossing, a school zone, a park, three shopping areas, and other features that can constrict or slow traffic.
- Vehicular volume varied, up in places, down in others.
- Bicycle traffic increased significantly.
- Bicyclers and pedestrians felt safer using the street.
- Eventually, drivers also found it safer and easier to use the street, especially while turning or moving around buses, garbage trucks, etc.
- The change did not negatively affect business income or traffic.
- Madison’s conclusion was that the change was positive, and made it permanent. Opposition has disappeared.
I have the Madison study, with all the numbers, in pdf form and would be happy to email it to anyone who asks.
My wife and I fear for our lives whenever we enter the four-lane areas on North.
Painting a center turning lane is a remarkably calming element — even though one would think losing a lane is a negative. Madison’s experience, and that of other cities, such as Troy, NY, is that a three-lane street is significantly safer than four lanes — even without painted bike lanes — and does not significantly affect speeds, volume or purpose.
I too like the three lane system because it includes bike lanes.
It means we can more safely share the road with bikes.
Sometimes traffic levels are high so every has to slow down. We all are in a rush rush life so it does not hurt to have a chance to back off from hyperdrive sometimes.
I drive a car, ride a bike and walk around my quiet neighborhood streets and the bike path….but it IS terrifying to see how some car drivers put other motorist, cyclist and pedestrian lives in jeopardy on North Ave just because they feel the need to drive fast and without thought for anyone elses’ lives. Plan an extra ten minutes for that drive to work, slow down and enjoy contributing to other human beings feeling safer and happier on the road. Imagine they’re your family. If you want risk, excitement and danger, sign up to volunteer in any of the many war zones around the world; North Ave isn’t one of them. Yet.
I too believe the current Williston Road configuration is a major improvement. I drive that section every day and appreciate the safety offered by the reduced speed and the three lane configuration.
I bike and drive.
I’m a father with little kids. They also bike and, one day, they will drive too.
I want to live in a civil neighborhood where we all express respect for each other and the rules we live by.
I am scared by comments that sound like “us versus them”, bikes or drivers. Frankly, I’m more scared by them when my kids and I bike, since that’s when we’re most vulnerable.
I am angry when I see people break rules of the road, since I know it contributes to this “us versus them” attitude.
Please, in this forum and in this neighborhood, let’s return to civility. Let’s remember that we are all somebody’s loved one trying to get home safe. When you see me biking or driving on the road, I hope you will keep an eye out for my safety, just as I will for yours. Bike or car, it’s a person in there.