Over the last few years New York has embarked on a concerted effort to adapt street design to focus on moving people, instead of focusing on movement of motorised transport.
Now some of the results are in, and it is becoming obvious that good street design leads to less congestion, less crashes, and good economic outcomes. In some locations, crashes to all street users have declined by up to 58%, whilst in other areas retail sales increased by up to 172%. Improving the priority of public transport over other traffic led to a 12% increase in patronage whilst reducing travel times. In some areas bicycle volumes shot up 177%.
By using electronics to measure congestion and traffic flows, response signal time adjustments lead to a 10% increase in travel speeds for cars (reducing greenhouse gas emission in peak hour by 9%). Adjusting parking rates to demand (higher rates during peak demand) led to a 7% decrease in traffic volumes as cruising to look for parking was reduced, yet 18% more people were able to find a parking spot when needed.
These are the main measures that are part of the new approach:
1. Designing safer street s
Simplified intersections. Dedicated left, right, and through lanes. Pedestrian safety islands. Protected bike lanes. Leading pedestrian intervals and split phasing. Also helpful: Turn bans. Mixing zones for bicycles and left-turning vehicles. Medians. Wide parking lanes. Speed humps and slow zones
2. Building great public spaces
Create new pedestrian plazas – first using temporary materials, later as capital projects. Street furniture. Seasonal seating platform in curbside lane. Striping and planters. Maintenance agreements with local organizations. Programmed events. Also helpful: Simplified intersections.
3. Improving bus service.
Offset bus lanes. Transit Signal Priority. Bus bulbs. Bus lane enforcement cameras. Also helpful: Pedestrian safety islands. Turn lanes and turn bans. Delivery windows.
4. Reducing delay and speeding.
Adaptive signal control. Signal optimization. Dedicated left, right, and through lanes. Simplified intersections. Neighborhood Slow Zones. Also helpful.:Protected bicycle lanes. Pedestrian safety islands. Wide parking lanes.
5. Efficiency in parking and loading.PARK Smart. Commercial Paid Parking. Delivery Windows. Muni meters. Also helpful: Offset bus lanes.