28 Aug

More data on road reconfiguring to allow non-car transportation access shows positive benefits

The pattern is getting stale. Bike additions and more multi-use road patterns are proposed, people go *nuts* about how it will slow down cars and create chaos and fire off nasty emails full anti-bike rage.

And then it turns out the roads don’t slow traffic down hardly and the whole area’s vibe is much improved and less dangerous.

“The ‘road diet’ on Fauntleroy Way in West Seattle was controversial when it was introduced, to say the least: Drivers, used to being able to speed along four general-purpose traffic lanes, feared that reducing the road to two traffic lanes, a turn lane, and a lane for cyclists would lead to total gridlock and chaos (sample comment from the West Seattle Blog: ‘They want to inconvenience 95 percent of the people who drive on Fauntleroy Way for the 5 percent who use bicycles? This can’t be allowed’).

Well, the data is in, and it turns out, the doomsayers were (once again) wrong.

How wrong? SDOT’s data show that the road diet has dramatically reduced collisions and reduced speeding in general on that corridor. The total number of collisions went down 31 percent after the road was striped for bike lanes and given a center turn lane, and collisions resulting in an injury went down 73 percent. Collisions between cars and cyclists went down to zero. “

(Via Fact: Road Diets Work. | Seattle Met.)

The kicker is, it not only doesn’t really slow down cars, it dramatically helps business and is more valuable by measurable means to business and foot traffic (by definition, right?):

“As Janette Sadik-Khan told the Women’s Bike Forum, businesses on Eighth and Ninth Avenues in New York saw a 50 percent increase in sales receipts after protected bike lanes were installed on the corridor. On San Francisco’s Valencia Street, two-thirds of the merchants said bike lanes had been good for business. If a business has a bike-share station out front, bike-share users are more likely to patronize it.

Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns told the story of a Memphis neighborhood where people, without authorization, spent $500 on paint and made their own bike lanes. Six months later, commercial rents on the strip had doubled, and all the storefronts – half of which had been vacant – were full.

Bike Infrastructure Is a Better Value Than Car Parking

Businesses in some cities are also beginning to see the spatial logic of the bicycle. After all, 12 bikes fit in one car parking space. Providing bike parking is also an extraordinary bargain compared to building structured parking: one parking space in a garage costs at least $15,000 to build and hundreds of dollars per year to maintain, while building a rack for two bikes costs $150 to $300.”

(Via Bicycling Means Business: How Cycling Enriches People and Cities | Streetsblog Capitol Hill.)