The traffic issues on North Main include:
• Cars travelling faster than the posted speed limit
• Numerous left turns onto side streets and driveways
• Unfriendly pedestrian environment
• Lack of bicycle lanes
• Limited number of crosswalks
• High crash rate
The physical constraints of North Main include:
• A narrow 4 lane arterial street
• The intersection at Hersey and Wimer Streets (highest crash rate of any intersection in Ashland)
• Neighborhoods and businesses on both sides of the street
• Narrow sidewalks that abut the curb (no buffer between pedestrians and cars)
• Lack of bike lanes
The Transportation Commission is trying to solve the safety issues within the confines of the existing space. Their recommendation is a Road Diet: reduce the number of traffic lanes to three, reduce the number of possible left hand turns and add bike lanes. Three lanes allow a center lane for left hand turns and a single travel lane in each direction. The single travel lane reduces weaving and lane changes which improves vehicle flow and narrows the road which naturally slows motorists’ speed. A bike lane accommodates cyclists and provides a buffer between the sidewalk and the traffic lane.
The most number of vehicle crashes in Ashland occur at the Hersey/Wimer Intersection at North Main. City staff recommends lining up Hersey and Wimer Streets to facilitate left hand turns from North Main onto those streets and from those streets onto North Main. Aligning the intersection and implementing the Road Diet as a pilot program is expected to significantly reduce the safety issues on North Main.
On August 6, the City Council will consider two options: align the Hersey/Wimer intersection and then implement the pilot Road Diet or implement the pilot Road Diet and a year later align the intersection. City Council meetings are broadcast live on channel 9.
To read about the pilot project, see http://www.ashland.or.us/Page.asp?NavID=14230