My route took me on Mill Street and I was very grateful for the bike lane. Mill Street once had four motor vehicle lanes in each direction. There was no on-street parking and no lanes until the road conversion took place. Now there are three lanes (one in each direction with a turning lane in the middle), on-street parking and bike lanes in each direction.
I think generally the public frowns on "road diets" for fear that it could not accommodate the existing traffic. But you picture a four lane road before the conversion, you have:
- motor vehicles who need to make a left turn that can hold up traffic behind them
- motor vehicles making a right turn that can hold up traffic
- bicyclists on the right shoulder of the road that can impede motor vehicle traffic or in the left lane needing to make a left turn (yikes)
- no on-street parking (we know what that's like to drive along side streets looking for parking)
- pedestrians needing to cross all four lanes to get to the other side safely
No doubt road diets make it safer for all users of the road. For pedestrians, it means crossing three lanes of traffic instead of four. At the end of the day, we all want to walk, drive or bike where we need to go safely right?
I am grateful for road diets because it has allowed me to bike to the dentist's office during lunch! Without safe access, I would have needed to drive to work today so that I could get to the dentist's office and back.
Find out more about road conversions and how that makes things safer for everyone here: http://www.rtcwashoe.com/streets-highways-32-157.html