Mayo Bridge Experiment

3 Sep

A reader named Susan shared a video on the blog’s Facebook page and it’s so cool I wanted to highlight it further.  Here’s the Vimeo link.  It documents an effort by planning students in Cleveland to envision the transformation of a couple of blocks of Rockwell Avenue into a “complete and green street.”  As you probably know, “complete streets” are ones that are friendly and safe for all users, prioritizing cyclists and pedestrians to the same degree as cars.

Here’s the part that really grabs me: it makes clear that you can try out, say, a separated cycle track on a temporary basis to see how it works!  It’s such a simple and obvious thing, but I’ve never seen an example of this kind of experiment before.  Debates about bike lanes and such are otherwise abstract and occur at the level of drawings and statistics.  This way you can get a very clear and concrete sense of what effects a change will likely have.

So, here’s my thought.  The Planning Commission is meeting tomorrow (see complete info below), and one item on the agenda is the Riverfront Plan.  That plan calls for a road diet on the Mayo Bridge, converting it from four lanes into two, to make it much more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly.  Why not just try it out for a few weeks?  If traffic engineers are concerned about the effects, well why don’t we do an experiment?  Use temporary striping, bollards, planters, and/or signage to narrow the bridge.  If chaos ensues, then we’ll know.  If people find it really appealing, we’ll have a sense of that too.

Assuming a positive outcome, this could be a good way to convince the skeptics (traffic engineers) that new traffic patterns and bicycle accommodations will actually work and not disrupt things as much as they fear.

Do consider attending the Planning Commission meeting tomorrow if you can make it.  It’s at 1:30 p.m. at City Hall.  Further details are on the official agenda.


One Response to “Mayo Bridge Experiment”

  1. katblerg September 4, 2012 at 11:57 PM #

    YES!!! Skip the hundreds of thousands of $$$ on consultants and studies and TEST it out in the REAL WORLD!! Do it RVA!!!!

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