Skip to main content
Asked a question 11 months ago

I need some help with talking points on my very walkable town's proposal for creating a bike lane and traffic calming measures (eliminating left turn lanes, adding rumble strips). This would go right by local businesses and multiple schools. Some concerns already are increased traffic and reduced demand for businesses. I'm very afraid the NIMBYs will be more vocal and beat this down. Thank you for the help!

Where am I?

In Strong Towns you can ask and answer questions and share your experience with others!

I would recommend a demonstration project to test out designs and verify if concerns are legitimate or not. The 30 day test project in my city found zero impact on traffic (but the city still voted against it unfortunately)

Bike lanes can create more business through increased foot traffic.
Safety, accessibility, and freedom for everyone is more important than convenience for drivers.
Calmer traffic will make the street more welcoming to people and lead to more business. 

I agree with Stephen. Test repurposing the left turn lane and adding the bike lanes with some relatively cheap plastic cones and plastic bollards. If traffic speeds on this street, you might want to use heavier bollards to deter traffic from speeding and protect bikers more. Get your city's traffic engineers to conduct a study during this time, and acquire some feedback from community stakeholders. If travel times aren't too heavily impacted by the changes, plan to implement a more permanent solution.

Paul CorderStrong Towns Member
City of Lebanon, TN Planning Director

This is a video from the Iowa DOT.

https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2019/1/23/iowa-dot-helps-educate?rq=road%20diet65

This is from Jeff Speck.

https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2015/8/26/video-four-road-diets?rq=road%20diet55

Both are great.  I had a 4 to 3 conversion proposed but it did not get approved. The Iowa video would have been helpful because the emergency responders claimed it would be harder to get through the traffic and that is addressed in the Iowa video.  Unfortunately, I did not know about these at the time.  The local business owners did seem to understand that the conversion would make it easier for customers to get in and out of their businesses.  If you could get a couple of small business owners to speak in favor of the plan it would be a good start.

What San Jose did on Lincoln Avenue was a trial striping many months ahead of a scheduled repave. 

The same talking points came up about parking, traffic, reduced retail sales. 

Because it was a 4-to-3 conversion, no parking was lost; parking became easier and safer with the bike lane. Congestion is worse where the street narrows from 4 lanes, and some side streets saw marginal impacts to traffic volume; trip time losses were measured in minutes, and were minor overall. Walkability along and across the street is significantly better. Retail losses never emerged in the available data and overall the avenue is healthier.