Lexington, KY Road Diet Experience

From: "Kenzie Gleason" <kgleason@lexingtonky.gov>
Subject: RE: Euclid Ave., Fri, 2 Mar 2012 10:08
One important point is that the last block of Euclid was not originally converted, in part, I believe, due to opposition from the adjacent businesses.  Two years ago a study and preliminary design was commissioned for several streets surrounding the businesses to make the area more bike/ped friendly, including that block of Euclid.  Extending the road diet was the preferred design and they are now working on funding to make the changes.  This shows how well the rest of Euclid works and how the naysayers have been converted to proponents of the design. 

From: Max Conyers,Thursday, March 01, 2012 6:53 PM
Subject: RE: Euclid Ave.
I'll just add a few comments from my having lived this. I am not sure if it started as a repaving job also but I know that this corridor had very high crash rates and that it was a Hazard Elimination Safety (or HES, now HSIP) funded project. Could have had both types of funding - Anyway, the KYTC District 7 officials were for a 5-lane section. I believe the big success factors were the community desire better protect pedestrians and bicyclists (students), calm traffic, and increase overall safety. Another important and critical factor is that the MPO partnered with Dr. Stamatiadis of UK Civil Engineering and students to do Synchro Simulation analysis (a relatively new tool) which demonstrated that there would not be significant traffic delay, back up, congestion, or gridlock that the opponents voiced would occur in a road diet design. Hope this helps.
Thanks, Max Conyers Lex Area MPO Mgr.

From: Charles Schaub, Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Subject: RE: Euclid Ave.
I'll do my best to recollect the Euclid situation.  But first, and may be most importantly, let me refer you to the attached research report recently completed by UK (in case it is too large to email - Research Report KTC-11-19/SRP 11-415-1F).  It provides guidelines for road diet conversions and Euclid Avenue is one of the case studies.  It has pictures and diagrams of Euclid and an evaluation of the operational and safety impacts of the road diet.
This project started as a repaving job with the District Office wanting to restripe a 4-lane Euclid (with a small median) into a 5-lane roadway (obviously, no median).  They definitely did not want to consider a road diet but the MPO and citizens asked for it.  Eventually, Nik
Stamiadiatis (one of the authors of the research report) did an evaluation of the expected operational impacts of the diet.  I don't have the report with me (it may be here in the office somewhere or with KYTC) but I recall that it showed no adverse impacts and actually a
slight improvement in travel time and delay.

The District Office reluctantly went along with the road diet but insisted that all negative comments be directed to the City.  I believe there may have been a handful of negative comments but overall the project was well received.  It is not perfect.  The bike lanes are
probably too wide and we have seen them used as turn lanes and jogging routes, etc. but, overall, the road functions very well and the bike lanes are being used constantly.  In addition, as the report points out, there has been a significant safety improvement.

Subsequently, the District has reversed course and seems to embrace the idea.  There has also been some personnel turnover.  You'll see another
case study in the report is from Woodford County.

So, with the research report laying out guidelines of when a road diet will and will not function properly, and, with potential safety benefits included, I believe road diets should be a strong consideration. The Euclid project may have been the first in KY and it certainly has turned out well despite its relatively high volumes and initial reflective opposition.

As we have found, once a bike/ped project gets done, even opponents embrace the improvements and sometimes become real advocates.