Lane Repurposing

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Lane repurposing is the process of reallocating a street’s space to better serve its full range of users. Lane repurposing, also known as right-sizing, typically involves reduction of the number of lanes or narrowing lanes on a street in order to improve the safety and operations of the route for all users.

When a roadway has lower traffic volumes than what it was designed to accommodate, changes can be made to more effectively use the space. These changes improve the travel for all roadway users (drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, public transit) and address safety needs within the corridor.

This type of lane repurposing is a recognized ‘best practice’ tool. The goals of repurposing a travel lane include:

  1. Increasing safety and access for all users
  2. Encouraging walking, biking, and transit use
  3. Supporting businesses and the local economy
  4. Creating places that foster community livability

The Federal Highway Administration has included lane repurposing as one of their “Proven Safety Countermeasures.” According to FHWA the benefits of lane repurposing include:

  • 19-47 percent reduction in crashes
  • Reduced speed differential (smaller difference between fastest speeds and slowest speeds) resulting in a more consistent traffic flow
  • Access for all road users
  • Integration of the roadway into surrounding land uses that result in enhanced quality of life

Repurposing Strategies

Roadway Repurposing can take a variety of forms. Each case is unique and changes must take into account the context of and the vision of the local community. Repurposing often involves some or all of the following elements:

Local Lane Repurposing Projects

Lane repurposing projects have positively impacted traffic safety on several roadways in Colorado Springs. Click here to view traffic counts and changes in speeds from lane recent repurposing projects.

Street

Type of Calming

Range of Volumes

Source

Cheyenne Blvd

4-lane to 3-lane

         8,598

 -

         10,340

CDOT - 2019

Cascade Ave

4-lane to 2-lane

         7,586

 -

         10,952

City - 2019

Fontanero St.

4-lane to 3-lane

         2,939

 -

           9,129

City - 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

    Project Results

    The result of lane repurposing on Cheyenne Blvd has been in place for several years, but because the City did not collect speed data prior to the calming, specific information on the impact of the project is not available.

    Data from Traffic calming efforts on Cascade Avenue and Fontanero Street do show reduced speed differentials as shown by the significant decrease in the number of vehicles exceeding the speed limit by more than 10 mph. This significant drop in the number of vehicles driving excessively over the speed limit results in a friendlier road to live on or travel along.

    Street

    Location

    Before

    After

    Source

          Percent of vehicles 10 mph over speed limit Percent of Vehicles 15 mph over speed limit   Percent of vehicles 10 mph over speed limit Percent of Vehicles 15 mph over speed limit  

    Cascade

    North of Fontanero

     

    42.25%

    12.25%

     

    6.97%

    0.94%

    City - 2018, 2019

    Cascade

    South of

    Fontanero

     

    36.79%

    10.92%

     

    8.60%

    1.09%

    City - 2018, 2019

       

     

       

     

         

    Fontanero

    East of

    Cascade

     

    2.91%

    0.26%

     

    0.07%

    0.00%

    City - 2018, 2019

    Fontanero

    East of Wahsatch

     

    7.52%

    1.22%

     

    1.08%

    0.10%

    City - 2018, 2019

    I would like to provide some cross sections or renderings to illustrate how this can be applied on the roadway.