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What is happening with the Separated Bike Lanes on 3rd and Broadway


Posted on June 27th, by allancrawford in infrastructure, Uncategorized. 1 Comment

The separated bike lanes on 3rd and Broadway have now been in place for over two years.  What have we learned … and what is next?

3rd and bdwy title page

The purpose of the separated lanes was to make it safer for both bicyclists and pedestrians in the downtown area and to increase the number of people getting around the downtown area by biking and walking.

 

What did we find

Based on a study done at the end of 2012 there is a:

  • 33% increase in the number of bike riders using 3rd and Broadway
  • 15% increase in pedestrian traffic
  • 50% decrease in the number of bike related accidents
  • 10% decrease in the volume of traffic on the two streets
  • 10% decrease in traffic speed (from just over 30 mph to under 30 mph)

And perhaps most surprising:

  • 50% decrease in the number of vehicle related accidents…from just under 100/year to just under 50/year.

At the same time we have seen a significant increase in the number of new businesses open along the corridor.  In talking to several of these business owners a major reason for them opening the new businesses has been the dramatic changes in downtown to make it more “people friendly” encouraging people to walk and bike to their businesses.

Background to the study

In order to conduct the project the city was required to get approval from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) as the separated lanes are not currently considered a standard street treatment in the US – although this is likely to be soon be changed.  As part of the approval process the city was required to conduct both a before and after study of the project area.  The study needed to look at usage (vehicle, bike and ped) and accidents before and after the project was installed.

In the fall of 2012 KOA corporation conducted an independent study of the facilities and produced a report of their findings.  A few of the key statistics from their report are shown above and the executive summary of the report is included below.  The study has been submitted to the FHWA for their review.  The agency recently reviewed the study and gave the city approval to continue with the project.

Over the next several months the City will meet with business owners and residents to discuss the future of the project.  They will talk about the results of the project its impacts.  A decision will then be made as how to move forward.

The executive summary of the report is show below.

1.1            Executive Summary

Broadway and Third Street between Magnolia Avenue and Alamitos Avenue are two one-way streets each approximately one mile long, with 11 and 12 signalized cross intersections respectively.  Before implementing the protected bikeway project, both Broadway and Third Street had three travel lanes with parking on both sides of the street.  With implementation of the protected bikeway project in April 2011, both streets now provide a one-way bikeway along the left side of the one-way street, separated from traffic by a parking lane and a raised curb.  The protected bikeway project also modified traffic signals at most intersections to provide bicycle signals and to install left turn arrows for motorists turning across the bike lane and across the adjacent pedestrian crosswalk.

Implementation of the protected bikeway project on 3rd and Broadway resulted in a 33% overall increase in the number of bicyclists using the two streets.  At the same time there has been an 80% decrease in the total number of bike and pedestrian related accidents, and a 30% decrease in the number of bicyclists on the sidewalk.  The two streets have also experienced a 13% increase in the number of pedestrians since implementation of the project.

While the amount of bicycle and pedestrian activity on the two streets has increased significantly, vehicle traffic volumes and speeds are down since project implementation.  Peak hour traffic counts are down by 12%, while 85th percentile traffic speeds have dropped on both streets.  On 3rd Street, traffic speeds have dropped from 36 mph to 27 mph, and on Broadway speeds have gone from 30 mph to 26 mph.

An additional benefit of the project has been a reduction in accident rates.  Prior to implementation, there had been an average of 5 bicycle-related accidents per year on the two streets.  In the 1 year post-implementation study period just 1 bicycle-related accident has occurred.  Traffic accidents are also down.  Rates for vehicle accidents dropped by nearly 50% after project implementation, from an average of 80 per year for the previous three years to 45 per year during the one-year study period.

Table 1.1 summarizes the changes in bicycle, pedestrian, and vehicle activity on the two streets.

Measure

Before

Implementation

After

Implementation

Total Bicycle Volume 437 (6 Hours) 583 (6 Hours)+33%
Total Pedestrian Volume 3,451 (6 Hours) 3,892 (6 Hours)+13%
Total Traffic Volume 6,300 (6 Hours) 5,550 (6 Hours)(-12%)
85th Percentile Traffic Speed 36 mph (3rd Street)30 mph (Broadway) 27 mph (3rd Street)26 mph (Broadway)
Bike-Related Accidents 5 Crashes/yr 1 Crash/yr
Vehicle Accidents 80 per Year 45 per Year

Figure 1.1 illustrates the change in overall use of 3rd Street and Broadway by bicyclists, pedestrians, and vehicles.

 

Figure 1.1 – Change in Overall Use of 3rd Street and Broadway

fig 1.1

 

 

 

Figure 1.2 shows the decrease in bicycle and vehicle accidents, and the decrease in 85th percentile traffic speeds

fig 1.2

 As shown in Table 1.2, average daily traffic volume on Broadway has decreased by about 700 per day since implementation.  Peak hour traffic volumes have decreased by about 1,000 in six hours.  The reason may be the decreased speed caused by the travel lane reduction.  Bicycle volumes have increased by about 20%.  Pedestrian volumes have also increased, perhaps indicating a public perception of a more “pedestrian friendly” environment.  One reported bicycle crash has occurred over the 1-year trial period after implementation, compared with nine crashes over the 3-year period prior to implementation (approximately three per year on average).  This indicates conditions for cyclists are safer with the new configuration

 

Table 1.2 summarizes the levels of bicycle, pedestrian, and vehicle activity on Broadway prior to and after implementation.  The number of crashes involving bicycles is also documented in this table.

 

Measure

Before

Implementation

After

Implementation

Average Daily Traffic Volume 13,100/day (average) 12,400/day (average)
Traffic Volume (6 Hours)

6,800

5,800

Bicycle Volume (6 Hours)

239

283

Pedestrian Volume (6 Hours)

1,946

2,296

Traffic Speed (85th Percentile)

30 MPH

26 MPH

Bicycle Crashes

9 (over 3 years)

1 (in one year)

 

inc ped volume photo

 Figure 1.3 illustrates the bicycle volumes and distribution along the street before and after implementation of the project.  The bicycle data includes six hours of counts (7am-9am, 11am-1pm, & 4pm-6pm) at two locations along Broadway.

As shown in Figure 1.4, the total bicycle volume on Broadway has increased from 239 to 283 after implementation, representing a growth of nearly 20%.  More importantly, there are far fewer bicyclists riding on the sidewalk now, 39% comparing to 62% before implementation.  Our study data also shows that the majority of the remaining 39% of cyclists riding on the sidewalk are riding in the opposite direction of traffic, as Broadway is a one way street.  The reduction in bicycle volume on the sidewalk results in less conflict and therefore a safer travel environment for both pedestrians and bicyclists.

Looking east on Broadway east of The Promenade.  A cyclist rides on the protected bikeway

photo looking e on 3rd at promenade

Figure 1.3 – Bicycle Activity along Broadway, Before and After Implementation

fig 1.3
Table 1.3 summarizes the levels of bicycle, pedestrian, and vehicle activity along Third Street prior to and after implementation of the project.

Measure

Before

Implementation

After

Implementation

Average Daily Traffic Volume

9,900/day (average)

9,800/day (average)

Traffic Volume (6 Hours)

5,800

5,300

Bicycle Volume (6 Hours)

198

300

Pedestrian Volume (6 Hours)

1,505

1,596

Traffic Speed (85th Percentile)

36 MPH

27 MPH

Bicycle Crashes

6 (over 3 years)

0 (in one year)

As shown in Table 1.3, average daily traffic volume on Third Street has remained about the same since implementation of the project.  Peak hour traffic volume has decreased by about 100 per hour.  Bicycle volumes have increased by about 50% (102 in 6 hours).  Pedestrian volumes have decreased slightly.  Bicycle crashes have decreased from six over a 3-year period (approximately two per year on average), to none over the 1-year trial period.  As with Broadway, the crash record for Third Street may indicate conditions for cyclists are safer with the new configuration.

Although traffic volumes have decreased or remained about the same on both Broadway and Third Street, volumes are consistently higher on Broadway than on Third Street by about 2,500 to 3,000 per day.

Gains in overall bicycle volumes are on Third Street than on Broadway after implementation of the project.

photo before 1.3

Figure 1.4 provides an illustration of bicycle volumes and distribution along Third Street before and after implementation of the project. The bicycle data includes 6 hours of counts (7am-9am, 11am-1pm, & 4pm-6pm) at two locations along Third Street. fig 1.4

As shown in Figure 1.4, the total bicycle volume on Third Street has increased from 198 to 300 after implementation, representing a 52% growth in bicyclist usage.  There are also far fewer bicyclists riding on the sidewalk now than before implementation, 30% now comparing to 69% before.  Our study data also shows that the majority of the remaining 30% of cyclists riding on the sidewalk are riding in the opposite direction of traffic, since Third Street is a one way street.

Observations were made of bicyclist and motorist compliance with the new street/bikeway configuration on Broadway and Third Street, and its associated controls and regulations, as well as crashes involving bicyclists, pedestrians, and vehicles.  No bike-vehicle crashes/conflicts and no crashes related to bicycle/pedestrian signals were recorded in the 48-hour video observations.  There were no observed conflicts related to left-turn vehicles/arrows, or bicycle/pedestrian conflicts involving parked vehicles.  Vehicle compliance with left turn arrows was 100% during the observation period.  Bicyclists were observed to comply with bike signals and most bicycles stayed in the protected lanes while they crossed the intersection.

The 85th percentile speed of vehicles on Third Street has decreased from 36 mph before implementation of the project to 27 mph after implementation.

 

 

 

 

 

 





One Response to “What is happening with the Separated Bike Lanes on 3rd and Broadway”

  1. Aaron Lobliner says:

    I think this is great news, I just hope that there could be some way to link broadway with the LA river bike path via a bridge or something, kinda like the one over the 22. I think that would increase bicycle traffic tremendously, and be a big help when we have regional draw events like the grand prix. I know there would be big security concerns from LBPD, so they would have to design it right.

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