I have read several editorials opposing the three-lane road conversion or road diet. The editorials express opinions, but none have been substantiated with any statistics, data, or facts.
A road diet will decrease the speed of vehicles. It has been proven that road diets calm traffic. It slows down the speed of traffic, but not the flow of traffic.
Vehicle accidents are reduced. A four-lane to three-lane conversion generally reduces accidents by 30 percent in all roadway crashes, but has been shown to reduce them even more in lower traffic volumes like Carpenter Ave. (U.S. DOT)
There is a more efficient flow of traffic. National studies show that a road diet does not reduce the volume of traffic. Congestion and backups occur on a four-lane when vehicles stop behind left hand turners or when vehicles are weaving in and out of lanes to get around left hand turners. This shifting in traffic between the two lanes is also a major contributor to rear end collisions and sideswipe accidents.
Pedestrian safety will be improved. Providing a five foot buffer zone will not only be safer, but will also make it feel safer to pedestrians as they walk along or cross the road. Eliminating a lane will decrease the vehicle travel lanes or distance the pedestrian has to cross which reduces the multiple-threat crash: (when one vehicle stops for a pedestrian in a travel lane on a multi-lane road, but the motorist in the next lane does not resulting in a crash.)
Data shows that improvements such as a road diet with a buffer zone increase walkability and livability in a community which also leads to an increase in local economies.
Undivided four-lane roads in cities all over the U.S. are being converted to three-lanes because undivided four-lane roads are simply not as safe.
Before you take a stand either for or against a road change, you should educate yourself with the data and facts. Go online, type in road diet, and start reading.