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Arterial Traffic Calming Success Story: Bridgeport Way W.

"Bridgeport Way W. is a principal arterial that carries 25,000 vehicles a day. It has two travel lanes in each direction with a middle two-way-left-turn lane. Before the road improvements, there were over 160 accidents less than a mile long section of this road for a three year period.... The results of our study show that the both accidents and the speed dropped on this roadway after we built the improvements. We are very pleased to see that we have 70% less accidents on this road now."

Arterial Traffic Calming Success Story

 

Bridgeport Way W. is a principal arterial that carries 25,000 vehicles a day. It has two travel lanes in each direction with a middle two-way-left-turn lane. Before the road improvements, there were over 160 accidents less than a mile long section of this road for a three year period. We improved this roadway by building curb, gutter, sidewalk, bike lanes, street lights, pedestrian crosswalks, landscaped median and planter strips. We eliminated two-way-left turn lane with a landscaped median and provided U-turn capabilities at intersections for passenger vehicles only. The results of our study show that the both accidents and the speed dropped on this roadway after we built the improvements. We are very pleased to see that we have 70% less accidents on this road now. This is a significant improvement.

 

When we replaced the two-way-left-turn lane with a landscaped median, the local business owners were very concerned. They did not believe people would drive an extra block to make U-turns to access their businesses. Well, guess what! I just asked our Finance Department to get me a City wide sales tax information. We are collecting 5% more sales tax this year than previous year on a city wide basis. But what is interesting is that we are collecting 7% more sales tax from the businesses around the Bridgeport corridor. We all know that the economy is good now, nation wide. Our general sales tax increase is primarily due to the good economic conditions. We are not claiming that our road project is the primary reason for sales tax increase. But what we are claiming is that, our road project helped.

 

We, engineers, must think more than cars when we build road projects. We must consider the other factors just as much important as the cars; community vision, pedestrians, economic vitality, bikers, joggers, etc. We all love to talk about vibrant communities. What better way to start building a vibrant community than building a well balanced road projects!

 

Isn't it where it all starts from? Look around you, you can easily connect a poor road design and construction with the poverty, isolation, community deprivation, frustration, high crime rates, etc. We need to think differently. As someone stated oncec "we can not fix today's problems with the same thinking that the created them in the first place." This is a very difficult concept for us, engineers, to understand and translate into our road designs. Because, we are educated and trained to move cars faster on wider roads.

 

I hope that your council will look at your road project from a broader perspective of what your community will look like in the future rather than what specific engineering manuals or guidelines to meet today. All design manuals and guidelines have enough flexibility for us to implement the Council's vision. Obviously, some of us are doing it, so should your engineers.




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