Friday, March 6, 2009

Lawyers Road bike lane meeting

About 30 people attended the meeting on March 4 to discuss the proposed restriping of Lawyers Road. VDOT is proposing to reduce the travel lanes from from 4 to 3 lanes with 5-foot bike lanes and a center turn lane between Fox Mill Rd and Myrtle Lane, about 2 miles in length (project flier). Randy Dittberner of VDOT gave a good overview of the concept of a road diet and how it could improve traffic safety on Lawyers Rd.

According to Randy, 30% of the crashes that occurred on the road in the past 5 years were preventable. Without a turn lane, cars are often struck from behind when turning left. In many areas there is a drop off adjacent to the pavement. A police car was once struck from behind when parked on the outside lane.

Lawyers Rd is an ideal candidate for a road diet. It has a relatively low number of vehicles per day (8,000) and the level of service at the two major intersections is A and according to the traffic model, would remain A after the road diet. Most people at the meeting were enthusiastic about the project as it would reduce travel speeds and crashes, and provide a dedicated bike facility.

The main concerns expressed by those in opposition were about travel delays for those living in the area who need to turn onto the road from side streets. While there will be increased delay, it should be minimal. As one person noted, there will be much less danger of being rear-ended with the proposed center turn lane. The benefits seem to far outweigh the negative impacts. Several cyclists said they commute on Lawyers and were looking forward to finally having a bike facility on the road.

One local resident asked that a second meeting be held so that more residents could attend. If a second meeting is scheduled, we will send out a notice. In the meantime, if you would like to comment on the project, send a message to Supervisor Hudgins' office.

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