Suburban Complete Streets

HenryAlan

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Instead of a shoulder, there should be bike lanes. A shoulder just gives the impression that the lane is wide and ready for high speed driving.
 

Arlington

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Instead of a shoulder, there should be bike lanes. A shoulder just gives the impression that the lane is wide and ready for high speed driving.
The prior two-lane each-way setup invited speeding in both lanes. It was hair-raising.
 

sm89

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Instead of a shoulder, there should be bike lanes. A shoulder just gives the impression that the lane is wide and ready for high speed driving.
From what I read on Twitter, they were originally supposed to be bike lanes, but the state decided to remove the symbols to respond to "community feedback". Being a marked bike lane or a shoulder wouldn't really affect driver speeds in this scenario. It's supposedly a trial to prove that the road diet can work, so I could see the symbols being added at a later date. This wasn't going to be an 8-80 facility to begin with, so I think those who are comfortable in 5ft lanes next to vehicles will still be comfortable with this in the interim, which is better than nothing. Incremental steps! There is also a benefit that any negative feedback about the trial won't be "because of the bike lanes" because there won't be any bike lanes in the trial.
 

Arlington

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I think users will love the New 28-for most it should greatly reduce the STRESS of driving (and probably measurably improve safety), regardless of what happens to trip times.

(in normal times) My family drives this road in Reading many times a day (our kids have activities in Reading Center). When striped for 2 lanes each way, the road really invited overspeed operation:

In the curb lane, you felt a need to go fast, lest you be passed (which was even scarier). When passing in the left lane, you lived in fear of a sudden left turn by the car in front of you. And don't get me started on passing in the right lane (of which there was plenty)

Since COVID, I haven't driven it, but some (or all?) is now done and my wife says it is much more pleasant to drive.
 

jass

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From what I read on Twitter, they were originally supposed to be bike lanes, but the state decided to remove the symbols to respond to "community feedback". Being a marked bike lane or a shoulder wouldn't really affect driver speeds in this scenario. It's supposedly a trial to prove that the road diet can work, so I could see the symbols being added at a later date. This wasn't going to be an 8-80 facility to begin with, so I think those who are comfortable in 5ft lanes next to vehicles will still be comfortable with this in the interim, which is better than nothing. Incremental steps! There is also a benefit that any negative feedback about the trial won't be "because of the bike lanes" because there won't be any bike lanes in the trial.
The issue is that a 12 foot center turn lane is not needed. Make it 10, and you have better bike lanes.

I do agree with your last sentence though, thats a very good point
 

sm89

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The issue is that a 12 foot center turn lane is not needed. Make it 10, and you have better bike lanes.

I do agree with your last sentence though, thats a very good point
The state really likes 11ft lanes. An easy (for them) change should be to bring that center lane down to 11ft and then have 5.5ft "shoulders". I think they're still open to feedback and so maybe that would be a realistic suggestion to them.
 

Joel N. Weber II

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I think it should be 5' bike lane, 2' buffer, 10' travel lane, 10' left turn lane, 10' travel lane, 2' buffer, 5' bike lane.

10' lanes might be a problem for oversized mirrors on MBTA buses, but if that's actually the case, the buses should be narrowed to the same 9' total width including mirrors that I believe interstate tractor trailers are limited to, and if there's a 2' buffer to the right of the travel lane, a bus can probably let its right mirror be above the 2' buffer if it needs to pass something wide in the center left turn lane.

Some articles on why 10' lanes:


 

North Shore

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The issue is that a 12 foot center turn lane is not needed. Make it 10, and you have better bike lanes.

I do agree with your last sentence though, thats a very good point
If you had dedicated left turn lanes, and your traffic volumes were small, you could get away with a 10' turn lane. But a two-way left turn lane (TWLTL in MUTCD parlance) mandates an absolute minimum of 11' of width and the state prefers 14'.
 

North Shore

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The prior two-lane each-way setup invited speeding in both lanes. It was hair-raising.
And the near complete lack of a shoulder (>= 1') made winter driving that much more of a white knuckle experience.
 

North Shore

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I think it should be 5' bike lane, 2' buffer, 10' travel lane, 10' left turn lane, 10' travel lane, 2' buffer, 5' bike lane.

10' lanes might be a problem for oversized mirrors on MBTA buses, but if that's actually the case, the buses should be narrowed to the same 9' total width including mirrors that I believe interstate tractor trailers are limited to, and if there's a 2' buffer to the right of the travel lane, a bus can probably let its right mirror be above the 2' buffer if it needs to pass something wide in the center left turn lane.

Some articles on why 10' lanes:



So they're basically turning it into 114
Yes, but no. If you're thinking of the stretch from the Northshore Mall through Middleton, that's two lanes in each direction with a TWLTL. It's incredibly wide and has incredibly signal density to manage it all.

The three lane configuration with shoulder bicycle accommodation is decidedly more friendly to non-vehicular traffic.
 
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North Shore

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I think it should be 5' bike lane, 2' buffer, 10' travel lane, 10' left turn lane, 10' travel lane, 2' buffer, 5' bike lane.

10' lanes might be a problem for oversized mirrors on MBTA buses, but if that's actually the case, the buses should be narrowed to the same 9' total width including mirrors that I believe interstate tractor trailers are limited to, and if there's a 2' buffer to the right of the travel lane, a bus can probably let its right mirror be above the 2' buffer if it needs to pass something wide in the center left turn lane.

Some articles on why 10' lanes:


Everything about this is completely unrealistic. You're not going to reduce vehicle width. That's just a non-starter.

10' lanes work for residential neighborhoods, but once you start dealing with collectors and arterials, it's not ideal. And it's not just the AASHTO green book that we, as traffic engineers, use to guide us. The Highway Capacity Manual, for instance, is used as well. You consider on-street parking, right turns, left turns, adjacent lanes and intersection density, among a host of other design considerations. And if you'd like to factor in New England weather and the fact that you're going to have snow accumulate in gutters regardless of how well a road gets plowed, you cannot use absolute narrow lanes.

Now, I absolutely agree that there are far too many roads designed with 12 lanes. I've designed my fare share of them, in fact. But I will say that in accordance with MassDOT's GreenDot Policy and any number of municipalities that have adopted Complete Streets policies, the trend has been to do whatever is necessary to accommodate 5' minimum shoulders for bicycle accommodation. I am currently designing a redesigning a mile-long corridor with a 28' wide existing width to one with a 32' width with 5' shoulders and 11' travel lanes, along with 5.5' wide sidewalks on both sides of the roadway. And there is a portion of this corridor that is primarily commercial properties in which we're incorporated a 14' TWLTL, primarily due the roadway geometry (superelevated reverse curves, with sight distance concerns).

There is never a one-size fits all approach to roadway design. And the definite trend is towards improved multimodal (bikes and pedestrians) accommodation. But you still have to account for motorized vehicles so that you can provide measures of safety to ALL users.
 

DZH22

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10' lanes might be a problem for oversized mirrors on MBTA buses, but if that's actually the case, the buses should be narrowed to the same 9' total width including mirrors that I believe interstate tractor trailers are limited to...
Are you saying we should retire the entire fleet of ~1090 buses and buy that same amount of new, thinner buses?

1. How long would it take for them to "naturally" retire and have a full turnover of that 1090 bus fleet?
2. Would these thinner buses be able to accommodate the same amount of passengers as the current ones?

Personally, I don't think main thoroughfares through the suburbs should be converted to bike paths. Most of us on the 95 belt and beyond still drive, and NEED to drive.
 

Joel N. Weber II

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I'm saying we should replace the mirrors on all the buses. The width of the bus body is probably just fine, and may well be the same as a standard 53' semi trailer.
 

sm89

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Everything about this is completely unrealistic. You're not going to reduce vehicle width. That's just a non-starter.

10' lanes work for residential neighborhoods, but once you start dealing with collectors and arterials, it's not ideal. And it's not just the AASHTO green book that we, as traffic engineers, use to guide us. The Highway Capacity Manual, for instance, is used as well. You consider on-street parking, right turns, left turns, adjacent lanes and intersection density, among a host of other design considerations. And if you'd like to factor in New England weather and the fact that you're going to have snow accumulate in gutters regardless of how well a road gets plowed, you cannot use absolute narrow lanes.

Now, I absolutely agree that there are far too many roads designed with 12 lanes. I've designed my fare share of them, in fact. But I will say that in accordance with MassDOT's GreenDot Policy and any number of municipalities that have adopted Complete Streets policies, the trend has been to do whatever is necessary to accommodate 5' minimum shoulders for bicycle accommodation. I am currently designing a redesigning a mile-long corridor with a 28' wide existing width to one with a 32' width with 5' shoulders and 11' travel lanes, along with 5.5' wide sidewalks on both sides of the roadway. And there is a portion of this corridor that is primarily commercial properties in which we're incorporated a 14' TWLTL, primarily due the roadway geometry (superelevated reverse curves, with sight distance concerns).

There is never a one-size fits all approach to roadway design. And the definite trend is towards improved multimodal (bikes and pedestrians) accommodation. But you still have to account for motorized vehicles so that you can provide measures of safety to ALL users.
It's a bit concerning to me that you keep referring to the bike lane as a "shoulder". That seems to exemplify the common complaint that bike accommodations are an afterthought to designers or somehow less important.
 

jass

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Some of you would stand to visit Philadelphia, which has 9.5 foot lanes absolutely everywhere, with the same exact transit buses.
 

North Shore

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It's a bit concerning to me that you keep referring to the bike lane as a "shoulder". That seems to exemplify the common complaint that bike accommodations are an afterthought to designers or somehow less important.
When you're designing with Civil3D, the extension of the roadway beyond vehicular travel lanes is the shoulder. When you deal with MassDOT, the crucial consideration is for bicycle accommodation. Don't get lost in the semantics here. With GreenDOT and Complete Streets, there is a paradigm shift from where we used to be.
 

jass

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When you're designing with Civil3D, the extension of the roadway beyond vehicular travel lanes is the shoulder. When you deal with MassDOT, the crucial consideration is for bicycle accommodation. Don't get lost in the semantics here. With GreenDOT and Complete Streets, there is a paradigm shift from where we used to be.
Language is important because legally, theyre different things. That means if theres a collision involving a bicycle, how the courts treat the injuries depends on if they were in a bicycle lane or a shoulder.
 

Stlin

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Now that it's been around for a while, what are people's impressions on the relative merits of Davis Square /Elm St's Current Covid Configuration, (vastly extended sidewalks to accomodate outdoor dining, with pickup/dropoff parking only, significantly narrower single one way traffic lane) compared to the proposed full 2 way design from the July 2019 (were it so long ago...) Neighborhood Plan?
Honestly, I think I would like to keep the new on sidewalk spaces. Just widen the travel lane enough to accomodate a bike lane and snow, and redo the intersection without changing the prevailing traffic pattern. Elm is fine as a one way street; that said, I won't say to to 2 way Highland.
Screenshot_20200813-141558_Acrobat for Samsung.jpg
 
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