SDOT will hold an open house Monday, July 26 to give a glimpse at plans to reconfigure a 1.3 mile stretch of NE 125th between Roosevelt and 35th Ave NE. The plans sound similar to other so called “road diets” the city has seen recently.
Basically, this four-lane road will be converted into one vehicle lane in each direction. A center turn lane and bicycle lanes in each direction will be added. Pedestrian crossings will be safer and vehicle speeds, which are currently much faster than the posted speed limit, will hopefully be closer to the posted limit. Right turn only lanes will be added at major intersections.
Road diets are often slightly controversial. Drivers typically imagine traffic will completely stop and they will never get to work and everyone will lose their jobs. These fears are unfounded, and studies of road diets similar to this one, like on Stone Way, show that road capacities are not reduced when four travel lanes are reconfigured in this manor. However, bicycle use increases drastically, car traffic moves as smoothly as it ever did (though speeding is reduced) and pedestrian safety increases dramatically.
Once people do a little reading into the overwhelmingly positive effects of road diets, resistance fades. Work on a road diet on Nickerson, which was controversial for a few days, is scheduled to start next week. A road diet on Admiral Way is currently facing a battle, with some bikers voicing concerns, as well.
The open house for the changes to NE 125th is Monday from 4-7 at the Lake City Library.