A road diet is a reduction in the number of car travel lanes on a road. Wide roads lead to more crashes and incentivize more driving, which increases noise and air pollution. Reducing motor vehicle travel lanes can make space for other uses like protected bike lanes, wider sidewalks, bus rapid transit lanes, or trees and benches. Narrower streets also benefit intersections by shortening crossing distances, which reduces potential interactions between bicyclists and motor vehicles. Road diets can improve a city’s Bicycle Network Analysis Score by converting high-stress streets to low-stress streets.
Case Study: Carmel, IN
In 2017, Carmel, Indiana envisioned a better future for one of the city’s main arteries, Range Line Road. Over the course of the next year, Carmel transformed a section of the five-lane sea of asphalt into a safer, more attractive street with two lanes for cars, a center median for trees, and a two-way planter-protected bike lane. Carmel broke ground on similar improvements to the southernmost portion of Range Line Road this year, which will make space for more street trees, multiuse paths, and safer pedestrian crossings.
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