On March 1, 2022, oTIS announced that it had chosen the mixed lane option for Washington Avenue. There will be a variety of lane configurations over the 5-mile stretch: 4 lanes to 3 lanes to 4 lanes to 5 lanes to 4 lanes to 3 lanes to 4 lanes. The downside of this change in lanes over the entire length of the corridor is transitions create opportunities for conflict and overall, there is a loss of consistent flow. It also creates longer crossing distances on many blocks than the 3 lane option would have; although all shorter than the 50 feet that people have to cross today. The upside is that the narrowest configuration is preserved for 10 out of 22 blocks. While we supported the full 3 lane option as the best option to meet the City’s Vision Zero goals (and still do) the mixed lane option is better than the 4 lane option.

Here what’s positive: 

  • 18 blocks of parking protected bike lanes that may be protected with concrete if future funding is obtained
  • Leading pedestrian intervals
  • Automated red light camera enforcement

There are also some new innovations that the City will be applying on a major arterial for the first time:

Here’s what still needs improvement:

  • The five blocks in the center of the corridor, between 16th and 12th Streets, have very little traffic calming. The bike lane will be a painted 5-foot bike lane and only speed slots will be utilized in that 5 block section. Speed reduction should be a priority. We propose:
    • Filling the bike lane in with green paint, like the lanes on the Ben Franklin Parkway, for the entire 5 blocks from 16th to 12th
  • 17th Street is a major crossing for children attending Stanton Elementary. We propose:
    • A 6-foot wide pedestrian refuge island in the middle of the crosswalk (like the floating bus islands)
    • Wider crosswalks that are set further back from the intersection.
  • We are concerned about the conflict at the shared bus pullover mixing zone for the 4 lane segments. It is possible that illegal parking will be problematic here, forcing bicyclists into the travel lane and reducing crosswalk visibility. We propose:
    • Moving the bus stop to the far side of the intersection and minimize the length of the mixing zone.

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