Separated lanes in Long Beach…more bike riders…fewer accidents
In April 2011 the City of Long Beach installed two one-way protected bikeways (aka cycle tracks) on Broadway and Third Streets, which transect the heart of the downtown area. The project provides one-way bikeways along the left side of each street, separated from traffic by a parking lane and a raised curb. One traffic lane was removed to accommodate the protected bike lane. Traffic signals were also modified at most intersections to provide bicycle signals and left turn arrows for vehicle traffic.
The project was a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) demonstration project that required a 12-month “Before” and “After” study to review the effects these changes have had on bicycle, pedestrian, and vehicle conditions along the two streets.
The results of the one year after:
- Bike ridership has increased by 33% along the street,
- Pedestrian use has increased by nearly 15%,
- Bike accidents are down 80 percent from 5 per year to 1,
- Vehicle accidents are down nearly 50% from over 90 per year to fewer than 50
- The number of bicyclists on the sidewalk has decreased by 30%.
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 and a 30% decrease (the video says 50% – the correct number is 30%) 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 collision rates. Prior to implementation, there had been an average of 6 bicycle-related collisions per year on the two streets. In the 1 year post-implementation study period just 1 bicycle-related collision has occurred. The overall traffic accidents are also down. Rates for vehicle crashes dropped by nearly 50% after project implementation, from an average of about 90 per year for the previous three years to less than 50 during the one-year study period.
Please bring your bike to downtown Long Beach…and as the banners along the street say “Dine, shop and bike in downtown Long Beach.”