Work on the Margaret Street “Diet” continues this week as the painting contractors arrive to lay down the new two lane design with a center turning lane.. Plattsburgh’s City Engineer Kevin Farrington says barring any major weather delays, striping will begin today and should be done by the end of the week.. “The first crew to arrive is the crew that does the manual work, while the second is working on other projects in and around city streets until Friday when the final work is done to lay down the “straight” lines. While the work is being done, Farrington says they’re going to use traffic markers to help with the transition to the new system..
Plattsburgh Mayor Jim Calnon says they will still have to adjust the traffic light but by the end of the week, Margaret will be in it’s new configuration and they want to be sure everyone understands how that’s going to work..
The city has website with more at http://www.cityofplattsburgh-ny.gov/Departments/roaddiet
They’ve also answered a list of questions which we’ve posted below;
What is a Road Diet?
Basically a road diet is switching a road from four lanes to two, with a center turn lane. Engineers and planners alike have found that in high turn environments (like North Margaret Street) three-lane roads can carry as many motor vehicles as a four-lane road- with greater safety and efficiency for all modes of transportation.
How can a road with less lanes carry the same amount of traffic?
That is the one on everyone’s mind :-), and luckily there is an answer! When a car stops in a moving traffic lane to turn left (as is very common on North Margaret Street) it causes a whole slew of problems- congestion, blind spots, unsafe lane changes, and discrepancies in vehicle speeds are some of the most common. In a three-lane system there is always one lane for driving, and one lane for turning, no mixing up the two, making driving safer and more reliable, with fewer crashes and frustrations. For these reasons, a 3-lane road can handle the same amount of traffic as a 4-lane road (and in some cases it can handle more traffic).
Another part of the congestion equation is the intersection. It’s the intersection that often determines the levels of congestion on a road. An important point to be made is that the southbound approach to the Boynton intersection will continue to have the same amount of lanes as before the road diet.
How does a road diet make driving safer?
As mentioned above, road diets provide a center turn lane so that left turns are simpler. A driver
crosses only one lane of traffic at a time (resulting in fewer blind spots). With an undivided 4-
lane road, a driver must find a gap in two or three lanes of traffic at once to make a left turn. An
argument against the safety factor is that it’s because traffic is diverted to other streets that results
in fewer crashes. This has been found to be a false assumption. In reality, road diets have been
found to maintain (and enhance) traffic flow while reducing crashes up to 90%.
How does a road diet make walking safer?
First, you only have to cross three lanes of traffic, not four. Second there are fewer blind spots as
you only have one lane in each direction, thus there is less sight blockage by cars. Third top vehicle speeds in a three lane system are lower (this does not mean that it will take longer to get through downtown on North Margaret Street, it means that there will be less speeding up and slowing down, and a more consistent pace).
Also, with the addition of bike lanes to the roads there will be less bike traffic on the sidewalks
(which is already illegal, but still common, and can make sidewalks less safe for pedestrians).
How does a road diet make biking safer?
Bike lanes of course! And all of the reasons listed above for pedestrian safety. On North Margaret Street today a cyclist is at risk of being ‘mirrored’ by a motor vehicle passing by within a foot or two.
How much is this project going to cost the city?
The project is primarily a re-striping, not a redevelopment, so the project will be quick with minimal closures, and relatively inexpensive. The pavement in the southern portion of North Margaret Street is in poor condition and will be resurfaced to provide a smoother, safer surface and more clear lane markings. New York State Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) funds will be used to cover that cost. Approximately $10,000 went into engineering the project, although about half of that cost was shared by Georgia Pacific.
What happens if it doesn’t work out?
There is always a possibility that this project will not work out- and if this is the case the City has said that they will repaint the road back to the way it used to be.