Myth Busting

Myths about the Brownsboro Road Sidewalk Project
 
Myth: The project will eliminate two lanes of the Brownsboro Road corridor.
 
Truth: The project will eliminate one lane of Brownsboro Road, leaving three – one in each direction for travel and a center dedicated turn lane.  For traffic headed downtown, the corridor currently narrows to one lane about 1,400 feet beyond the project end anyway.
 
Myth: The project was sprung on the neighborhood with no warning.
 
Truth: The blind community has been working for sidewalk improvement in the area for more than 30 years.  It was presented to neighborhood organizations in its current configuration – i.e., with a center turn lane and a sidewalk approximately 4-1/2 years ago.

Myth: There is a need for time to study additional alternatives.
 
Truth: Alternatives have been studied for 12 years and the main contenders – blasting away of the cliffs on one side of the street or acquiring private property on the south side were both rejected as prohibitively expensive and having other drawbacks. Doing nothing is not an alternative that makes sense in view of the advantages to be drawn from the project.
 
Myth: Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh is actively forcing the project through.
 
Truth: Councilwoman Ward-Pugh is very much in favor of a solution to the problem. This project developed out of the desires of neighborhood citizens, including a large blind community, who sought relief from the hazards of traffic in the area before the councilwoman took office. This is not a fight between citizens and businesses against Metro Government. Rather, it is a disagreement between citizens who have worked for years for solutions to a serious problems, and business owners who have tried belatedly to stampede other citizens by disseminating incorrect and misleading information.
 
Myth: The project will create longer commutes downtown for residents traveling to and from their homes.
 
Truth: Traffic studies by experts suggest very slight delays from the project, on the order of ten (10) additional seconds on the inbound trip and four (4) on the outbound trip. 
 
Myth: The project will create traffic gridlock during peak travel times, which will be increased by during incidents on River Road and/or I-71.
 
Truth: Brownsboro Road headed downtown becomes a residential street before traffic reaches the area in question. It can’t  be a substitute for larger thoroughfares such as the interstate. Traffic studies suggest that the project actually will improve throughput of traffic, and reduce the number of traffic-clogging accidents on Brownsboro Road itself. Brownsboro Road serves a variety o f trips and is actually a neighborhood street for local residents as well as commuter corridor.
 
Myth: Drivers will be forced to travel the speed of the slowest motorists and stop at all bus stops.
 
Truth: To the degree that traffic will be slowed, the delays caused by the reduced speeds will be rather negligible. The slower speeds will actually increase safety for all users. Speeding traffic is a major concern voiced frequently by neighborhood residents at neighborhood council meetings. Also, slower traffic speeds may indeed be better for businesses as well.
 
Myth: Cyclists will still have to share the road with motorists as the current plan only addresses individuals on foot.
 
Truth: There is not enough room for dedicated bike lanes in the right-of-way along much of the existing Brownsboro Road and this section, with or without the "road diet", is no different. Providing in-street bike lanes should be done on corridors from one end to the other. Only providing them on discrete sections actually reduces the safety for cyclists since they tend to maneuver in and our of the lane.
 
Myth: The proposal will introduce additional hazards for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.
 
Truth: Traffic studies and experience with road diets elsewhere in the U.S. indicate that such projects reduce, not introduce, hazards thus improving safety for all.
 
Myth: Area businesses will potentially be destroyed as they lose customers.
 
Truth: Businesses near road diets elsewhere actually have seen an increase in customers, as high-speed, through traffic goes elsewhere, and a less frantic pace permits motorists to notice and patronize businesses along the route. Most businesses rely on neighborhood residents who are likely to find the road more attractive and actually safer, potentially increasing and not decreasing business.
 
Myth: The project is like closing Fourth Street downtown, which turned a vibrant business area into a dead zone:
  
Truth: Fourth Street was in serious decline long before the Fourth Street Mall was created in an effort to halt the skid. Its decline was due in large part to the community’s willingness to serve the automobile despite the damage policies toward that end did to pedestrians. There is no evidence that the project is a threat to business. Most, if not all of the businesses, derive their customer base from local residents who  live in the adjacent neighborhoods.  Making the roadway safer will actually increase business as the corridor becomes more inviting for all types of customers - those that drive, walk or ride a bicycle.