Starting Monday, the intersection of Bryan Avenue and East Loudon Avenue will undergo a transformation designed to make the area safer for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists. The change will remain in place through this summer.
“Vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle safety have long been a concern of the neighborhoods and businesses in the project area,” says Scott Thompson, a transportation planner with the city. “This demonstration project is a low cost opportunity to measure the effectiveness of temporary solutions. Projects like this one often become capital projects for permanent installation.”
The project involves temporarily re-engineering the intersection, eliminating some existing turn lanes, adding marked pedestrian crosswalks, and rerouting traffic onto other streets.
Bryan Avenue begins at North Limestone, just before Loudon Avenue if you are heading away from downtown. Drivers on Bryan Avenue currently can turn left or right onto Loudon Avenue, or proceed across Loudon and continue on Bryan Avenue, which runs in front of Castlewood Park.
Once the intersection is re-engineered, drivers on that first stretch of Bryan Avenue will only be able to make a right turn. In order to get back onto Bryan Avenue, drivers will have to travel a block down Loudon Avenue and turn left onto Maple Avenue. Maple merges into Bryan Avenue at the front edge of Castlewood Park.
This demonstration project is a part of a multi-city pedestrian safety program called The Safe Streets Academy, which is managed by the National Complete Streets Coalition. “The goal of the project is to utilize pedestrian safety countermeasures learned as a part of the Academy as well as to develop performance measurements to illustrate the impact of the project on pedestrian safety and utilization,” says David Filiatreau, signal systems manager for the city.
The project’s $43,000 cost is being funded by a grant from the Safe Streets Academy and funding from two city grants – one from the Division of Traffic Engineering and one from the Division of Environmental Services through its Citizens Environmental Academy.
“It was somewhat of a collaborative approach,” Thompson says. “A team from the Citizens Environmental Academy was looking to implement a project in the Loudon Avenue area and the Safe Streets Academy had identified that area as one possible location for a demonstration project. Neither group had enough funding to implement a major project but by combining budgets and efforts, we were able to do this one.”
Pre-counts for performance measures for the project area have been completed. A second set of performance measures will be taken during the project to evaluate its effectiveness.
“The results of our project, along with projects from South Bend, Indiana, and Orlando, Florida, will be published and shared nationwide through the National Complete Streets Coalition,” Thompson says. “This will help other communities learn from our process, implementation and outcomes for them to make informed decisions for similar projects.”