On Wednesday, March 28, the Town of Brighton passed a resolution consenting to the use of Monroe County standards (minimum lane width of 10 feet for the center turn lane). The Town of Pittsford previously had passed a similar resolution on March 20.
Since the entire project area is encompassed within the Towns of Brighton and Pittsford, the passage of these resolutions paves the way for the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) to revise its plan. Currently, NYS DOT plans to implement a “road diet” with two 10-foot travel lanes and an 11-foot center turn lane, leaving room only for 4.5-foot shoulders. NYS DOT highway design standards require a minimum lane width of 11 feet for two-way center turn lanes. This aspect of the NYS DOT standard is in direct conflict with the governing federal standards, which require 1) that bike lanes be at least 5 feet wide, and 2) that projects that contemplate bike lanes must be “future-proof” to 5-foot-wide bike lanes. It is infeasible to widen East Avenue due to the granite curbs in the project area, so narrowing the center turn lane is the only obvious way to resolve the conflict.
Last night, the Pittsford Town Board unanimously passed a resolution pertaining to the planned rehabilitation of East Avenue. The resolution consents to NYS DOT utilizing a 10-foot-wide center turn lane in order to make room for federally compliant, 5-foot-wide bike lanes.
The evening of March 28, the Brighton Town Board will consider a similar resolution.
These resolutions pave the way for NYS DOT to let us “have our cake and eat it, too”: a road diet for enhanced motorist and pedestrian safety, and bike lanes for enhanced cyclist safety.
We have created a Facebook event to help folks RSVP:
Please plan to attend and voice your support for bike lanes on East Avenue!
As mentioned before, the next step in the fight for bike lanes on East Avenue is for the towns of Pittsford and Brighton to pass resolutions in support of a narrower center turn lane and 5-foot-wide bicycle lanes. Since Monroe County already builds roads using 10-foot center turn lanes, the resolutions can reference the Monroe County standard.
To that end, the morning of March 6, we met with the Brighton Committee for Public Works and presented a letter in support of such a resolution. The Committee signaled an interest in collaborating with the Town of Pittsford to ensure that the resolutions are compatible and support the stated objective.
At the Pittsford Town Board meeting the evening of March 6, Town Supervisor Bill Smith notified the public that the Board would consider (and possibly pass) a resolution at the next Town Board meeting: March 20 at 6:00 PM, in the basement of Pittsford Town Hall at 11 S. Main Street.
Brighton’s next Town Board meetings are at 7:00 PM on March 14 and March 28. The March 14 Brighton Town Board meeting already has a critically important item on its agenda: the enabling legislation needed for Community Choice Aggregation, a policy that enjoys widespread support among environmentalists and several of the groups co-sponsoring Citizens for East Avenue Bike Lanes.
Please mark your calendars to show up for the March 14 meeting of the Brighton Town Board to voice your support for a resolution for bike lanes on East Avenue!
DATE: March 14, 2018
TIME: 7:00 PM
LOCATION: Brighton Town Hall
ADDRESS: 2300 Elmwood Avenue, Rochester, NY 14618
The next stage in our fight for bike lanes on East Avenue will occur at the local municipality level. Pittsford Town Supervisor Bill Smith has asked his Town Attorney to draft a resolution requesting that NYS DOT use Monroe County guidelines for the project and reduce the width of the center turn lane from 11 feet to 10 feet, making room for 5-foot bicycle lanes.
The entire project area is contained within the Towns of Pittsford and Brighton, so if both Towns pass resolutions authorizing NYS DOT to use the Monroe County standard, NYS DOT will no longer be able to cite their highway design guide in refusing to design for 5-foot bike lanes.
Next Steps – Mark Your Calendar
Tuesday, March 6 at 9:00am: The Public Works Committee for Brighton will meet at Brighton Town Hall (2300 Elmwood Avenue, Rochester, NY 14618). A letter will be presented to the committee in support of passing a resolution.
Tuesday, March 6 at 6:00pm: The Pittsford Town Board will meet at Pittsford Town Hall (11 S Main St, Pittsford, NY 14534). We are hoping to use the public comments period to thank Supervisor Smith for his leadership on the issue and see if the Board has any progress updates.
Wednesday, March 14 at 7:00pm: The Brighton Town Board will meet at Brighton Town Hall (2300 Elmwood Avenue, Rochester, NY 14618). Environmentalists take note: One of the main agenda items expected at this meeting would be passage of the enabling legislation for Community Choice Aggregation, so a resolution in support of bike lanes on East Avenue would be apropos for this meeting.
Thanks to Monroe County Legislator Justin Wilcox (LD-14) for joining the chorus of public officials calling for a 5-10-10-10-5 roadway configuration that allows for proper bike lanes on East Avenue. “To allay safety hazards and improve accessibility particularly for bicyclists and pedestrians, I respectfully ask that your Department ensure a 5-foot bicycle lane on both sides of Route 96, leaving 10-foot lanes for the vehicular traffic and a center two-way turning lane. These wider bicycle lanes will provide a necessary safety cushion from fast-moving cars.”
Mr. Wilcox joins the Town Boards of Pittsford and Brighton in advocating for safety for all users of this roadway.
Here is the first page of the letter – the second page contains the list of public officials copied by Mr. Wilcox into the communique:
Hon. Joseph Morelle, NYS Assembly Majority Leader
Hon. Joseph Robach, NYS Senator
Hon. Richard Funke, NYS Senator
Hon. Bill Moehle, Brighton Town Supervisor
Hon. Bill Smith, Pittsford Town Supervisor
Mr. Kevin Bush, Regional Director, NYSDOT, Region 4
A key contributor to NYS DOT’s unwillingness to design 5-foot bike lanes into the resurfacing plan for East Avenue is that their highway design guide requires a minimum lane width of 11 feet for two-way center turn lanes.
But with a road width of only 40 feet, the East Avenue project needs all three lanes in the “road diet” – both travel lanes and the center turn lane – to be 10 feet wide.
NYS DOT’s initial plan for the project contemplated three 11-foot lanes, but given that the road has less than 2% truck traffic, they were willing to make the travel lanes 10 feet wide to make room for 4.5-foot shoulders. As for narrowing the center turn lane by another foot, they treat the idea with a combination of skepticism and disdain. Their preference for 11-foot lanes is so strong that Kevin Bush, Regional Director for NYS DOT, characterized the revised plan of record as “almost a pilot project.”
Given NYS DOT’s disposition toward narrower two-way center turn lanes, you may be forgiven for thinking that they are somehow risky or speculative. What Mr. Bush has failed to mention during the course of this discussion, however, is that Monroe County’s design guide does allow for 10-foot center turn lanes. In fact, here we provide a list of nine (9) county-funded roads with 10-foot center turn lanes. Click on each link for a Google Maps location of the intersection – click on the PDF link to see the County design drawing for the roadway in question.
- Buffalo and Glide – PDF
- East Main and Prince – PDF
- Mt. Read and Latta – PDF
- Ridgeway and McLaughlin – PDF
- St. Paul Blvd – PDF
- Leiland and Latona – PDF
- Latona and Holmes – PDF
- Rochester General Hospital – PDF
- Portland Ave. (Portland Pkwy. to Titus) – PDF
Our first blog post is a brief word on the imagery we are using for the Web site and social media.
The meeting picture was taken at Pittsford Town Hall, where Pittsford Town Supervisor Bill Smith hosted a meeting between interested citizens and NYS DOT Regional Director Kevin Bush. More than 20 people showed up!
The road picture was taken at East Avenue and Winton Road, where East Avenue features a road diet and federally compliant bike lanes. The picture was taken less than half a mile from the resurfacing planned by NYS DOT. We are asking only that East Avenue continue to have bike lanes as cyclists head east out of the city, as it does now until the city’s edge.
Interestingly, Winton Road has a 10-foot two-way turn lane at the intersection with Jefferson – steps from NYS DOT’s regional office at 1530 Jefferson Road.
That’s all for now. Many officials are at the Association of Towns Training School and Annual Meeting in New York City.
To keep in touch, please:
Thanks for your support and we will have an update soon!