Greenwood Ave a great tailored road case study

There should be little concern about the proposed changes to Greenwood Ave between 85th and 105th/Holman affecting vehicle capacity. According to SDOT data, this stretch handles nearly the same number of cars as the stretch of Greenwood south of 85th, which already has a similar configuration.

Meanwhile, pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle safety should increase dramatically once the changes are made, as has been seen in similar projects around the city. The road is currently over-designed as a four-lane and will be “tailored” (it will catch on!) to fit the needs of current road users. No parking will be removed.

Data, provided by Marybeth Turner at SDOT, shows that in 2008, this stretch of Greenwood Ave handled an average of 12,600 vehicles. The stretch south of 85th handled 12,000. Meanwhile, Stone Way was at 15,200 vehicles in 2008 and has been able to maintain its vehicle capacity after similar changes were made there.

There was an open house last night to discuss the Greenwood changes, but I was a bad bike blogger and forgot about it after riding 33 miles and stuffing my face with Indian food. If anyone went, please share.

In the comments on our original story, Jason Brien said: “I strongly disagree with the city plan to road diet Greenwood Avenue. This plan will create a false sense of security for cyclists. I suggest the alternative of Fremont Avenue, a quiet residential street with trail access at 110th street.”

I feel like these thoughts might be common enough, so here’s my opinion. While Fremont is a pretty nice bike boulevard-esque route in this area, these changes to Greenwood Ave are not just about bikes. It is unsafe for pedestrian crossings, it encourages speeding and, yes, it is unsafe for all the bikers who ride on Greenwood instead of going eight blocks out of their way (four there, four back) to take Fremont. You could just as easily ask why the drivers don’t go over to Aurora if they want to drive that fast.

For people riding straight through the area, Fremont is great. I use it a lot. But there are plenty of destinations on Greenwood people may be trying to get to, and if someone is trying to get somewhere west of Greenwood, they are not likely to ride several blocks east to get there.

As for the false sense of security, this is a great chance for a real life case study. Go ride on Greenwood north of 85th, then south of 85th and tell me that the sense of security those changes provide are not real. Same street, practically the same traffic numbers, yet the already completed section is clearly more comfortable and, yes, safer (see Stone Way study above). Sure, I wish the bike lanes weren’t so close to parked car doors (I always ride on the left half of these lanes), but Greenwood north of 85th feels more like a highway than a neighborhood arterial street.

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