In May, consultants in Richardson began studying a stretch of Greenville Avenue where the road has been temporarily constricted from six to four lanes.
The experiment is part of the effort to create an 1,200-acre Innovation District east of US 75. Opting for bike lanes and pedestrian crosswalks could make it easier to get around the district without a car, city officials report.
Transportation Director Mark Nelson and Development Director Michael Spicer shared the study’s findings with City Council at a meeting Nov. 18.
The roughly two-mile stretch between Jackson Street and Campbell Road is considered underutilized—on average, only about 25%-30% of the road’s capacity is used, Nelson said. This makes the stretch an ideal candidate for narrowing, Spicer added.
“It is virtually bereft of human activity,” Spicer said.
Data gathered by consultant team Kimley-Horne showcased what kind of impact the reduction could have on nearby US 75 as well as traffic volumes and speed on Greenville.
Only three times over the course of three years did an incident on US 75 create a diversion to Greenville, Nelson said. Because Greenville is not considered a reliever of traffic on US 75, the lane reduction should have no impact on those motorists, he added.
Staff also studied how lane reduction affects traffic along Greenville. At no point over the course of one week did traffic exceed a four-lane capacity, they found. In fact, the roadway has historically operated more like a two-lane street than a six-lane street in terms of volume, he added.
However, Nelson reported having fewer lanes caused bottlenecks near intersections. This could be resolved by reprogramming lights to have extended green cycles, he said.
“If you reduce from three to two lanes in each direction, you’ll have a longer queue at the intersection,” Nelson said.
All in all, the study found that traffic volumes increased by less than 5% and caused only an additional 11.5 seconds of travel time, Nelson said.
“It can be concluded that one lane can be removed from northbound and southbound Greenville Avenue and still operate within acceptable conditions ... leaving adequate room for future growth along the corridor,” the study found.
The team also gathered qualitative data by surveying citizens at several city-hosted events. Nearly 80% of survey respondents agreed Greenville should be designed for all modes of transportation, including walking, biking, driving and riding the bus. Just over 70% said they would like to see the temporary bike lanes along Greenville become permanent, results showed.
The changes could become permanent if approved by council and incorporated into the new zoning code currently under development by consultants and staff. A vote on the comprehensive rezoning of this area is scheduled for Dec. 9, Spicer said.
Findings of Greenville Avenue lane reduction study presented to Richardson City Council
Members of the public tested the mobility improvements at a recent community event. (Courtesy city of Richardson)