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City `Fat’ Street Gets Makeover with First Road Diet


Located in the City of Waterloo, Ontario and constructed in the late 1970’s, Davenport Road is a 2km long, Major Collector road strategically linking area communities to Regional Shopping Centre and the city’s primary transit terminal. Four lanes of fast moving traffic, restricted sight lines and lack of pedestrian and cycling facilities make it challenging to access the services by means other than the car. A traffic study identified high operating speeds, high number of collisions and lack of safe crossing locations. The study objective was to support the use of other travel modes resulting in a recommendation to redesign the road under a `Road Diet’, which conforms to the city’s’ developing `Complete Streets’ approach to roadway planning and design. The reduction in travel lanes from 4 to 2 would provide space for on-street bike lanes, landscaped medians, pedestrian refuge islands and dedicated traffic turn lanes. For monitoring purposes the following targets were established: ƒ Reduction in average operating speed to 50km/h. ƒ A 20% reduction in left-turn type collisions (comparable 5 yr period). ƒ A 20% reduction in rear-end type collisions (per above). ƒ A 20% reduction in non-fatal injury collisions (per above). ƒ A 20% increase in pedestrian and cycling numbers. Used effectively across North America the Road Diet approach: ƒ Provides space for turn lanes benefitting road capacity as through traffic is not stuck behind turning traffic. ƒ Prevents traffic weaving between travel lanes. ƒ Provides dedicated space in the roadway for bike lanes thereby providing safer travel option for cyclists. ƒ Provides space for landscaped medians and pedestrian refuge islands providing traffic calming and safer crossing opportunities. ƒ Reduces collision numbers and severity of injury collisions due to reduction in speed between road users. At time of preparation of this paper the project was at the tender stage, therefore, while it was impossible to draw any conclusions, the intent of the project was to improve Davenport Road for all users but focused predominantly on the active transportation user and through extensive post construction monitoring the results, successes and failures, including rationale can be presented through a follow up paper. While the individual focus is on the project targets, there is a wider objective to achieving success with this project. Through comparison of the Davenport Road future AM peak mode shares against the targets established under the Transportation Master Plan, the city can quantifiably determine if the road diet and complete streets approach to planning and designing its roadways was justified.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Christopher Hodgson
Road safety