ColorBrightonGreen.org supports transportation infrastructure that will provide safe travel for non-carbon emitting vehicles such as bicycles. There is a proposed change to the lane configuration on Route 96 (East Avenue) between E. Highland Drive and Route 31F in the towns of Brighton and Pittsford. The current configuration of Rt. 96 is a 40’ wide roadway comprised of four 10’ wide lanes. The newly proposed New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) configuration is three 11’ wide lanes for motorized vehicles (the center lane being a turn lane), and two 3.5’ shoulders/bike lanes. It is our understanding that the NYSDOT is proposing 11′ wide lanes because they believe that 11’ lanes may maximize roadway speeds (despite that 40 MPH is the permitted speed limit throughout the project zone).
While ColorBrightonGreen.org supports the initiative of the NYSDOT to provide bike lanes on this section of East Avenue, we don’t believe that maximizing speeds and leaving only 3.5′ wide bike lanes will protect the safety of all road users. ColorBrightonGreen and several other community groups (including Mothers Out Front, the Rochester Peoples’ Climate Coalition, and Rochester Cycling Alliance) are calling for three 10′ vehicle lanes and two 5′ bicycle lanes along this section of East Avenue. Such a configuration already exists on East Avenue at Winton Road (less than a half mile from the proposed project area).
ColorBrightonGreen.org is also preparing written comments to send to the NYSDOT Project Design Engineer Daniel Schwind (Daniel.Schwind@dot.ny.gov), to Town of Brighton Board Members, and to other elected officials. When these communications are complete, we will add them on our website. We also intend to share these comments in person at the December 13, 2017 meeting of the Brighton Town Board.
Your voice can also make a difference. Please consider learning more about the NYSDOT proposal and the rationale for 5′ bike lanes and writing and/or speaking at local (Brighton or Pittsford) Town Board meetings. Mothers Out Front has created web pages that provide more information about the December Town Board Meetings in Brighton and Pittsford. The NYSDOT is expected to finalize their decision making on this project in January of 2018, so any action you take will be most effective if you act in December of 2017.
Here are some sources of information for you to consider: Narrower Lanes Safer Streets Article from Planet Citizen. Bigger Isn’t Always Better: Narrow Traffic Lanes Make Cities Safer article from World Resources Institute. Narrower Lanes Safer Streets from Research Gate.