Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Report on Valley Road Community Design Meeting


One potential option for bike facilities on Valley Road without sidepaths

The meeting at town hall on Monday night to discuss street design at Valley Road drew over 50 people, and it was a lively affair. The community Masterplan calls for multi-use sidepaths to be installed along Valley road as an amenity for cyclists. But many residents don't want sidepaths, as you may have noticed from letters in the local press in recent weeks.

I wanted to try to broaden the conversation, so I presented slides featuring nine different options that might potentially make Valley Road safer for all users. Each of the designs has different advantages and disadvantages. Feel free to reply or comment if you have a preferred alternative! 

I should give credit to local resident Heidi Fichtenbaum for coming up with 'option 5*' (pictured above). This is a very innovative suggestion, which includes a protected cycle-track- a design that in other communities has been very effective at lowering the barriers to cycling. As part of this plan, on-street parking is preserved, by making parking bays between trees on the north side of the road. If you want to try your hand at your own design for Valley Road, I recommend 'Streetmix', a website that offers the ability to mix and match different design elements. 

Right now, it seems that town officials are leaning toward scrapping the sidepath idea, and going with 'sharrows' in the road instead ('Option 1', in the linked file). Some 'bulb-outs', similar to those on Jefferson Road, might also be added at intersections, to narrow the roadway and try to reduce car speed. However, no final decision has been made, so if you have a preference, there is still time to have your say.

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