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Road Diets: Four-Lane to Two-Lane Conversions

"More aggressive diets drop four lanes down to two. Fewer roadways can undergo this more aggressive conversion. Roadway conversions in Toronto, Ontario, are proving safety and livability benefits of these changes, while holding to previous capacities."

Four-Lane to Two-Lane Conversions.

 

More aggressive diets drop four lanes down to two. Fewer roadways can undergo this more aggressive conversion. Roadway conversions in Toronto, Ontario, are proving safety and livability benefits of these changes, while holding to previous capacities. More than six formerly four-lane roadways have been converted to either two-lane roads with medians and turning pockets, or simply two lanes. St. George Street, a principal arterial through the University of Toronto Campus is perhaps the best known. This 16,000 ADT roadway owes its success to low number of driveways. The roadway holds its full capacity at intersections by keeping the previous number of storage lanes. The 1.l mile roadway project was launched when a local benefactor to the University of Toronto challenged the city to the improvement by putting up her $1 million in match money. The University contributed $500,000 (Canadian), and the City of Toronto gave the additional $2.5 million match for a total rebuild price of $4 million. The road was totally reconstructed. New foundations, improved intersections, greatly widened sidewalks, bike lanes and full canopy of trees were placed. Today walking, transit and bicycling are pleasurable activities; speeding has dropped, and the center of campus has come alive with people.

 

Other Four-Lane to Two-Lane Conversions.

 

Toronto has also converted five other roadways. In each case the same volume of auto traffic is serviced, always at lower, more appropriate speeds. As with four-lane to three-lane conversions, prudent drivers set the speed. Many of these additional roadways operate with 11-17,000 ADT. Some sections are reduced from four lanes to two lanes to incorporate critical pedestrian crossings; then they widened back out 1,000 feet further downstream. Many combinations of road diet techniques are practicable. Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; Santa Monica and Mountain View, California; and dozens of other cities are making similar conversions. These streets are made more business, resident, transit, bicycle and pedestrian friendly by placing medians with turning pockets and bike lanes in the mix.




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