Tag Archives: road diets

The Keys to Transportation Safety

By Dom Nozzi

The key to creating safer intersections, roads, and streets is to move away from the century-long engineering practice of using “forgiving design.” https://domz60.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/conventional-forgiving-road-design-reduces-road-safety/

It is also essential for us to understand the counterproductive nature of calling for a reduction in traffic congestion or urging our officials to “ease traffic flow.” Both of these measures (which are such a consensus in our society that even cyclists, pedestrian advocates, and transit promoters also counterproductively call for such things) lead to a dangerous oversizing of road/parking/intersection infrastructure, and the use of high-speed road geometries.

By far, the best way to achieve transportation safety is to design roads and intersections for slower speeds – the opposite of “forgiving” design.

It is not a coincidence, by the way, that a growing number of cities are joining the “slow cities” movement https://www.planetizen.com/node/21630

And a big part of slower speed transportation design (and, therefore, more safety) comes from road diets, which involves removing excess travel lanes, as was done so spectacularly well on Main Street in my home city of Greenville SC. Such diets also include reducing travel lane widths (which can be quickly and inexpensively done whenever streets are re-striped). and shrinking the size and turning radius of intersections.

There is also an important need for converting one-way streets back to two-way operation.

Far too much space has been allocated to easing car travel and car parking. This has infected our cities with the gigantism disease — a disease that results in much less safety, much less prosperity, much less civic pride, much more sprawl, much less human scale, and much lower quality of life.

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Asking Candidates for Elected Office About Proper Transportation Design

By Dom Nozzi, AICP

Recently, I submitted a set of questions for Boulder CO city council candidates to respond to. The questions are intended to give voters an idea about where the candidates stand on issues important to voters.

I have long believed that the forms of transportation we provide in our communities is the lynchpin for transportation choice, lifestyle choice, quality of life, economic health, and civic pride. I therefore felt that questions directed to candidates should focus on learning their views on whether they support or oppose quality transportation design.

The questions I submitted:

Do you support humanizing & calming Boulder transportation by putting overweight roads on a diet (ie, removing and narrowing travel lanes)?

Redesigning streets to obligate motorists to slow down & be more attentive (via “friction”-based traffic calming)?

The restoration of the inner loop one-way street in downtown to two-way travel? (a conversion which is happening throughout the nation)

Installation of more raised medians on Boulder streets? (to slow traffic and provide safer pedestrian refuge areas for street crossings)

Incentivizing the removal of town center off-street surface parking in our town center?

Discouraging single-occupant travel via such programs as cash-out parking and the efficient pricing of parking, and downsizing city fire trucks?

Others I neglected to submit:

Do you agree with me that turn lanes are generally inappropriate in walkable, low-speed town centers, and that any existing turn lanes should be removed?

Do you support compact development tactics that promote transportation choices, such as higher density residential development and mixed use?

Do you agree with me that in town centers, streets should be no larger than three lanes in width?

Do you agree with me that in town centers, parking for cars should be scarce and priced? That there be no requirements by developers that off-street car parking be provided as a condition for new development?

Do you agree that we should, when possible, unbundle the price of car parking from the price of housing?

Do you agree that compact, mixed-use development and unbundled parking is an effective tactic for providing affordable housing?


Visit my urban design website read more about what I have to say on those topics. You can also schedule me to give a speech in your community about transportation and congestion, land use development and sprawl, and improving quality of life.

Visit: www.walkablestreets.wordpress.com

Or email me at: dom[AT]walkablestreets.com

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