Speck on Main Street’s 12- to 13-foot traffic lanes: “(They) believe that wider lanes are safer. And in this belief, they are dead wrong.”


Hell, we’re accustomed to it on Spring Street

Jeff Speck provides more food for thought as the Gahan administration’s presumably exculpatory “public safety” mantra is repeated again and again, as applicable to anything area of the human experience apart from the city’s own street grid.

It’s a meal of finely roasted crow these uncommunicative sorts probably won’t like very much, but let’s serve it, anyway.

Those traffic lanes on New Albany’s latest and greatest shining path, the Main Street Deforestation Project … they’re HOW wide?

Well, in the 2012 feasibility study, it was stated that the “minimum travel lane width is 10 feet.” Then the usual backroom wheels were set to spinning, and they became 11 feet. Then, earlier this year, just prior to the commencement of deforestation, the newspaper had this to say about it.

Notable among the updates to the project: An extra foot of space between the medians and the traffic lanes has been included in the plan. The lanes will technically still be 11 feet wide, but there will be a two-foot offset from the stripe and the walls protecting the medians.

For those capable of math, 11 + 1 = 12. Or is it 11 + 2 = 13? Either way, it’s damning.

Crickets chirp, and pins drop.

John Rosenbarger somehow retains his position.

In short, we’re in the process of implementing on a new and “improved” Main Street precisely what Speck refutes in the article linked below. And you still want to know why we have no confidence whatever that Speck’s OTHER street study recommendations will be implemented here in New Albany?

Read it and weep … for our seemingly bottomless stupidity.

Why 12-Foot Traffic Lanes Are Disastrous for Safety and Must Be Replaced Now: Let’s make “10 not 12!” a new mantra for saving our cities and towns, by Jeff Speck (City Lab)

… I have steeled myself for the task of explaining here, in a manner that can never be disputed or ignored, why the single best thing we can do for the health, wealth, and integrity of this great nation is to forbid the construction, ever again, of any traffic lane wider than 10 feet …

… States and counties believe that wider lanes are safer. And in this belief, they are dead wrong. They are wrong because of a fundamental error that underlies the practice of traffic engineering—and many other disciplines—an outright refusal to acknowledge that human behavior is impacted by its environment. This error applies to traffic planning, as state DOTs widen highways to reduce congestion, in compete ignorance of all the data proving that new lanes will be clogged by the new drivers that they invite. And it applies to safety planning, as traffic engineers, designing for the drunk who’s texting at midnight, widen our city streets so that the things that drivers might hit are further away.

More on the shining path can be found here. Also, previously at NAC:

Jeff Speck on John Rosenbarger’s 12-ft wide Spring Street traffic lanes: “A 12-foot lane is a 70 mph lane.”