The running center turn lane on East 52nd Street (and many other streets around town) is a monument to traffic engineering winning over everything else:
This configuration has bugged me for years. There is an unprotected bike lane, yes, but also a very narrow sidewalk with poles in the middle of it. I decided to see what else could be done with only 48 feet of right-of-way width, as shown below:
There’s a great tool for this task on the web called Streetmix. It enables citizens to imagine different street configurations. There were a number of constraints that I worked with:
- 10 foot travel lane width in each direction. It allows you to go lower than that, but I doubt if Indy would build a street.
- No Center turn lane! This frees up the space I need for other items.
- Protecting the bike lanes with just a foot of buffer is better than nothing.
- Trees and streetlights are needed
- 6 foot sidewalks! Streetmix doesn’t recommend sidewalks smaller than that. Obviously the current 52nd Street sidewalk is closer to 3 feet.
- What about buses? They currently mix with traffic and probably block the bike lanes when they stop. Now they’ll need to stay in the travel lane. Boarding situations will not be ideal with passengers crossing the bike lanes, but that’s likely already happening in some way.
- Street mix also allows you to edit the buildings on the side. 4 story mixed use buildings are the default, but I put in more traditional single family houses.
- I had to drop a few things I wanted, like a boulevard median between the travel lanes, or any bus shelters, but for the most part I think this is pretty realistic:
There are probably other fun configurations out there. Feel free to post them in the comments, if you end up playing around with Streetmix.