CDOT, in conjunction with Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th), is conducting a test on Humboldt Drive through
Humboldt Park aimed at calming traffic and improving pedestrian safety
Starting the week of August 23, a portion of Humboldt Drive between North Avenue and Division Street will be temporarily reduced from 4
lanes to 3 lanes. This segment of Humboldt Drive will have one travel
lane in each direction, with a center lane used as a combination of
left-turn lane and pedestrian refuge area. This change will both slow
vehicle speeds and reduce pedestrian exposure to approaching traffic.
Engineers will study the effectiveness of these changes on driver behavior and pedestrian safety during the one-to-two-month test period.
CDOT’s traffic and pedestrian safety programs will analyze speed and behavioral changes for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians as a part of the effort to improve safety for all public way users.
I understand how more built up infrastructure may make drivers feel safer and drive faster (LSD) and making the street appear slow (removing lanes etc) will make them more cautious and drive slower. I've even read about experiments converting stoplights to stop signs showing a decline in accidents at those intersections. Not sure that would work at any street but it's interesting.
I am skeptical about the middle lanes though. I grew up by a street with one: drivers shoot down the middle without paying attention, crossing in a car is dangerous let alone having pedestrians try to cross.
I hope the plan would also include bike lanes, utilizing the space gained from going from 4 driving lanes to 3. CDOT is doing this on Lawrence Avenue between Western and Ashland, and I would like to see other streets such as the 4-lane parts of Broadway and Sheridan get this 3-lane + bike lanes make-over.