While the Department of Conservation and Recreation work on a longterm plan to improve the Arborway, some short-term changes, including buffered bike lanes are coming as early as this fall.
"We are proposing to remove travel lanes in three locations. Before making this
proposal, we carefully reviewed pre-pandemic traffic volumes (on which we have collected data on several occasions over many years) for the corridor," wrote Jeffrey Parenti, Deputy Chief Engineer for DCR.
The short-term improvements could also begin in spring 2021.
Parenti provided a list of short-term improvements and the intended goals of the changes. The changes include:
- Adding clear lane lines to Murray Circle. New lines in that rotary which has none at all
today, will better organize movements approaching and within it. This will result in less
confusion and fewer crashes.
- Directing through traffic into the "main barrel" between Kelley and Murray Circles. Today, the roadway design, combined with the line painting, guide through traffic onto the carriage roads at both Murray and Kelley Circles. By rearranging the line painting, the proposed markings will direct through traffic into the middle four-lane section (also known as the "main barrel.")
- A bike lane proposal along the Arborway carriage roads between Kelly Circle and Murray Circle. Currently, these roadways each have two lanes of traffic going in the same direction for a total of four lanes (two lanes going northbound and two lanes going southbound). The agency’s proposal would decrease the travel lanes for vehicles in each direction from two lanes to one lane (one vehicle travel lane going northbound and one vehicle travel lane going southbound). (Please see image below)
- A single bike lane near the Arboretum along the Arborway (southbound) in an effort to connect with the existing path at Forest Hills. Similarly, there are currently two travel lanes going southbound, which would potentially be reduced to one vehicle travel lane going southbound. (Please see image below)
- A wider parking lane southbound in front of the Arboretum. The existing parkway section has no bike facility, and a very narrow parking lane forces people exiting the driver's side to step into traffic. The proposed parking lane will be much wider and includes a buffered bike lane. This requires removing a lane of travel.
"We found that eight lanes in the carriage road section is not necessary to carry the amount of traffic we counted. Additionally, a single lane southbound will be adequate to carry traffic in the Arboretum section. Further, these improvements will be made with paint only and are adjustable," wrote Parenti. "lf we find that queueing
or delays to vehicles substantially increases, we will revisit these changes where appropriate."
A full description of short-term improvements can be viewed here. The public comment period to comment on the design proposal is Oct. 2, 2020. DCR will review public comments and then decide when to begin the short-term improvements.