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In addition to being identified in the Houston Bike Plan, the 11th Street Bikeway proposal aims to improve safety for people driving, biking, and walking in the Heights area.
One solution to improve safety for all road users is to convert 11th Street from its existing four-lane configuration to that of a two-lane configuration with a center turn lane. How does this make it safer?
Check out this video to learn more about a 4-to-3 lane conversion and the safety benefits it can provide, such as
- Assigning a lane for left-turning vehicles
- Reducing vehicle conflicts, such as rear-end collisions, broadside collisions, and side-swipes
- Slowing vehicle speeds with only one travel lane in each direction
- Maintaining traffic flow without adding to congestion (check out our traffic model of 11th below!)
- Granting people who walk and bike to cross fewer lanes of vehicle traffic in each direction
- Designating a comfortable space for people biking on the street
- Implementing pedestrian refuge islands (may also be known as pedestrian safety islands, pedestrian crossing islands, or median refuge islands)
- Give people walking and biking the opportunity to wait for clear crossing in a protected refuge
- Can be especially useful at tricky intersections, like that of 11th and Nicholson
With a 56% reduction in pedestrian crashes, pedestrian refuge islands have been identified as a proven safety countermeasure by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).