Eastern Planning Group Approves Plans to Make University Avenue more Bike Friendly

At their monthly Board meeting last Tuesday, the Eastern Planning Group approved plans to make University Avenue between 54th and 68th Streets more bike friendly, more transit friendly and more pedestrian friendly.

The University Avenue Mobility Study that began in November 2010 concluded with a plan to make this segment of University Avenue a true Complete Street that will be inviting to all its road users. The city’s consultants, Darnell & Associates, will now work on preparing a cost estimate that will be presented to City Council next month for approval. Once City Council approves the cost estimate, actual construction will begin.

The biggest change to happen along this stretch of University Avenue will be the elimination of free right turns at 54th Street. This is in alignment with the new Caltrans policy update to their Highway Design Manual that will be implemented later this year. Free right turns make city streets more like freeways with off-ramps and on-ramps. A right turn on red can happen at any intersection even on regular 4-way intersections. The Highway Design Manual is the key guidance document that is used to develop Caltrans projects as well as local streets and roads. In light of the upcoming changes, free right hand turns throughout the state will soon be a relic of an auto-centric and dangerous past.

Thanks to Larry Hogue for helping articulate the difference between free right turns and right turn on red.