Photo: Rulison, Larry, Creighton Manning/LA Group
BETHLEHEM – A full “road diet” on Delaware Avenue in Bethlehem between Elsmere Avenue and the city of Albany would greatly improve safety along the busy road, a recently completed town study found.
The Bethlehem town board will be presented with the study’s findings Wednesday night.
The study, the Delaware Avenue Complete Streets Feasibility Study, looked at various potential scenarios to improve the 1.3 mile stretch, which carries as many as 17,000 cars a day between Delmar and Albany.
Under a so-called road diet, Delaware avenue would be knocked down from four lanes to three, with the center lane being used for turn lanes and medians. Bike lanes would also be added off the curbs.
The study, done by Creighton Manning Engineering, found that the changes would add 50 seconds to the average commute in both directions.
However, safety, for both cars and pedestrians alike, would significantly improve under a road diet, the study found, along with the aesthetics of Delaware Avenue.
Renderings done as part of the study show crosswalks along Delaware Avenue along with landscaped center medians and turn lanes along with bike lanes and added sidewalks.
Speed limits also appear to be lower along the road diet areas, the renderings show.
“Traffic analysis has indicated that a dieted, or repurposed, Delaware Avenue traffic will flow more smoothly and crashes significantly reduced. In addition, it will benefit the community by making Delaware Avenue more attractive for walking, cycling, and doing business in general,” a summary of the study’s findings says.
The study looked at a wide variety of scenarios, from doing nothing to putting in place modified road diet plans that would limit the changes to the area between Delaware Plaza to the city line or reduce the number of lanes down to one in just one direction.
However at a public meeting held last month, a full road diet plan was considered the most popular, with nearly 80 percent who attended being satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the idea.
All the other scenarios received less than 30 percent of the support of those who attended the Sept. 26 meeting.
The “road diet” would not impact the rest of Delaware Avenue from Elsmere Avenue to Delmar’s Four Corners, which is currently undergoing a streetscape transformation itself as part of a $3 million project that has caused lane closures and detours since June.
No decision has been made on how to proceed. The town board would have to vote on any plan.
Wednesday’s town board meeting, held at town hall at 445 Delaware Ave., begins at 6 p.m.
Creighton Manning officials will be at the meeting to present the results of the study and also answer questions that came up at last month’s meeting on the study.