Salt Lake City reducing lanes on 1300 South from State to 500 East
Please, do not call it a "road diet."
Yes, the auto lanes on 1300 South between State Street and 500 East will be reduced from two to one in each direction. But there will be a center lane for left turns. And a bicycle lane will be added in each direction.
But it is not a road diet, explained a spokesman for Mayor Ralph Becker. It's part of the city's "Complete Streets" program that aims to make travel safer for cars, bicycles and pedestrians, said Art Raymond.
The asphalt overlay and re-striping should be done by the end of July.
Community activist George Chapman, however, doesn't like the plan. In 2010 when Salt Lake City made similar changes along 1300 East from 500 South to 2100 South it impacted his neighborhood, he said.
"The community is divided and upset. The residents on 1300 East are generally for it, due to the left-hand turn lane, but [adjoining] neighborhoods get a lot more traffic," Chapman said. "And 1100 East has a lot more traffic from [drivers avoiding] the 1300 East congestion."
Chapman added that such lane reductions should not be implemented on streets with high volumes of traffic. "Salt Lake City has not convinced me that they do road diets well," he said.
But Raymond explained that 1300 South is not comparable to 1300 East when it comes to traffic volume.
"Though it may be tempting to compare this project to 1300 East, it is a different scenario," Raymond said, "because the daily traffic volumes are much lower on 1300 South than on 1300 East."
While 1300 East accommodates 18,000 to 20,000 cars per day, traffic counts on 1300 South reveal about 13,000 cars per day, Raymond said.
City Councilwoman Jill Remington Love noted that although there was a lane reduction on 1300 East, it still handles the same volume of traffic and the lane reduction has made for a safer thoroughfare.
"The large majority of comments I receive [reflect] an understanding that [1300 East] is safer and design should not always be about accommodating speed of the automobile," she said.
That is much different than a lane reduction test proposed for Sunnyside Avenue in 2012. That plan did not go forward after area residents and commuters, alike, rebelled, making dirty words of the term "road diet."