Fix a Street

April 27, 2006 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

If you could tackle one road project in Lincoln, what would that project consist of, and why would you choose to do that project? Assume you have a reasonable, but not unlimited, amount of funds to work with.

I have several possibilities on my list, but for this exercise I’m going to say that I would widen South 27th Street between South Street and Highway 2. Assuming that citywide political will doesn’t suddenly shift enough to widen the street to four lanes, I would implement a three lane dynamic solution. The outside two lanes would be used for north/south traffic, while the center lane would be assigned to north, south, or center turn lane (left turn) traffic on a dynamic, computer-controlled basis. The amount of street widening would be minimal, keeping the backlash from the neighborhood relatively subdued. (“Relatively”, in this context meaning that they would only pray for my head to fall off, rather than actively seeking to rip it from my neck.) The greatest engineering challenge would be configuring turn lanes at Woods Boulevard, Van Dorn Street, and Sheridan Boulevard (and maybe Calvert Street), but that’s nothing a little creativity can’t handle.

The reason I selected this project is that it would be reasonably inexpensive to implement relative to the expected gains. The most substantial “cost” would be political, rather than financial; after all, who dares to widen a road through such a wealthy neighborhood? The next greatest cost is in the creative energy required to address some of the inherent design hurdles. But I, for one, am willing to give a few neurons some exercise for the benefit of superior traffic flow on one of Lincoln’s most important streets.

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The Comments

Christopher April 27, 2006 at 4:28pm

Make 27th four lanes (at least) for that stretch. But, on the other hand, if you want to have some good head on collisions in the center lane you can widen it to three lanes, and have the center lane be the “suicide lane.”

Here in Omaha from 69th to 20ish, Dodge St. is five lanes, the middle lane being a “switcheroo” lane depending on the time of day. When living at my apartment, there were a couple of times driving to and from school I’d see the aftermath of some good head on collisions due to drivers not paying attention to if the center lane had a green arrow or a red x.

Since you have unlimited money, spread it to four. Sure people are going to complain. Hell, have city government call the “right of ways” along 27th blighted, that might speed things up.

Swoof April 27, 2006 at 9:01pm

Word, Mr. Wilson.  The north/south flow in this city outside of 70th and 9th/10th is horrific. 48th between Van Dorn and O could use some work, too, although I’m biased.

Christopher, I like the way Omaha manages their traffic.  Hell, even Farnham street has the X’s and arrows to switch it from two ways to one way at certain times and I never had a problem with that.  How much does a smart traffic engineer cost and some lights, preferably LED to save money on electric bills, cost?

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