Friday, 12 February 2016

4 Lane Divided Arterial Road and Traffic Light Obsession

The City of Edmonton, and many other places, firmly believe that many 4 lane divided arterial roads are essential to transportation. But why is this? I've covered how roads can be turned into 2 lane distributor roads or otherwise downgraded roadways before, A by creating high capacity, high speed attractive routes for motor traffic to use instead, B by looking at the roads that are already suitable for downgrading, C, by creating intersection improvements that makes it possible to handle the traffic in less space, and D, by promoting cycling, walking and transit use to the extent that a downgrade is possible.

Now there are some roads that do need to be 4 lane divided roads. Highway 2 between Edmonton and Calgary, some routes in the mountains where overtaking is needed, but not as many locations in the urban area as you think.

We also insist on putting in traffic lights despite the FACT that in many locations that we would use them in, a roundabout, zebra crossing or an intersection with sign control will work just as well, or better.

People aren't incapable of change. We were certainly capable of changing from walking, streetcar and horse to cars a hundred years ago. We wouldn't need horses again, or streetcars in the way they were 100 years ago, probably not at all, but we could change back too.

We know how to use sign controlled intersections, we learn rapidly how to use roundabouts, and with things to maximize the flow capacity of a 2 lane undivided roadway, roundabouts, cycle paths, bus stop inlets, or sometimes separate busways for the transit, reducing the number of side streets, all of these methods work well, and we learn how to use them.

I am also frustrated that the city uses the AASHTO guidelines despite me not being able to access them without charge. A nominal fee for an adult can be a much more expensive proposition for a youth. This also happens to be one of the reasons why universities tend to have so much more cycling than out of college adults. From the way that our roads have turned out by following them, why do transportation officials continue to insist on them? What could possibly turn your sense of reasoning and logic off? The only thing I can think of is following the norm and designing things like these four lane divided arterial roads and traffic lights everywhere.


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