Modesto will hold a second meeting about its proposal to put a stretch of College Avenue on a “road diet,” a traffic-calming technique used nationwide to slow and improve the flow of traffic, reduce accidents, and make streets friendlier to pedestrians and bicyclists.
The meeting will start at 6 p.m. Aug. 13 at Emanuel Lutheran Church, 324 College Ave. City officials unveiled the proposal last month at a College Area Neighborhood Alliance meeting at the church.
The city is looking at putting College Avenue from Needham Street to Briggsmore Avenue – a distance of about 1.7 miles – on the diet. College is four lanes along that stretch and has street parking on both sides nearly all the way.
The diet consists of changing the lane markings so there would be one lane in each direction for cars and a center lane for left turns. The city would use the space from reducing four traffic lanes to three to create more room for cars parked along the street, a 6-foot-wide bike lane on each side of the street and a 21/2- or 3-foot buffer between the bike lanes and traffic.
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City officials say this configuration would cause drivers to reduce their speed, and that traffic would flow better and there would be fewer accidents. For instance, a driver making a left turn would not have to worry about being rear-ended because instead of trying to turn from a traffic lane, he would be in the center left-turn lane.
Audience members at last month’s meeting liked the concept but had lots of questions about how it would be implemented, such as making sure there were enough bus stops and how to connect the Kansas Avenue traffic turning left from two lanes into one on College Avenue.
City officials have been developing answers and will present them at the Aug. 13 meeting. (The answers include keeping the two left-turn lanes on Kansas.) City officials have said that if the community endorses the road diet, then they would seek City Council approval before implementing the proposal.
More information about road diets and the city’s proposal can be found at www.modestogov.com/ced.