Fewer lanes, more paths, better crosswalks, roundabouts
The City of Carmel has announced a Range Line “Road Diet” project that will transform one of the busiest north-south corridors in the City. The project will improve traffic flow and increase safety for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists on Range Line Road from 116th Street to the 4th Street entrance to the Carmel Arts & Design District.
The estimated $13.5 million project will eliminate traffic lanes and turn a wide section of pavement into a more functional and beautifully landscaped corridor. The City plans to reduce lanes from 4th Street to Executive Drive from five lanes (two in each direction plus a middle turn lane) to just one lane in each direction with a landscaped median.
"Typically when a city talks about improving traffic flow, it involves building new roads or adding lanes. But in this case, we plan to do the opposite,” said Mayor Jim Brainard. “This large, multi-lane, uninviting expanse of road will be replaced by an inviting, aesthetically-pleasing, protected boulevard. What is currently a ‘pass through’ corridor will soon be transformed into a tree lined, sculpture infused, pedestrian destination.”
Traffic signals will be eliminated along the corridor and new roundabouts will be added at 116th Street, Medical Drive, Executive Drive, City Center Drive and 4th Street. Each roundabout will be two lanes except for the 4th Street roundabout. By installing roundabouts, traffic flow is greatly improved. Studies show an estimated 30 to 50 percent increase in traffic capacity with roundabouts.
The Range Line Road project also calls for mid-block pedestrian crosswalks to enhance the pedestrian experience, raised crosswalks at the roundabouts for safe pedestrian crossings, a cycle track on one side of the road and 8-foot wide mixed-use paths on both sides, and a landscaped median.
Range Line Road currently has 10,000 to 20,000 cars per day. Similar “Road Diet” projects throughout the country resulted in an 88 percent reduction in accidents with injury. They also lowered average speeds by an estimated 20 percent, while also improving travel times with the new roundabouts. Replacing traffic signals with roundabouts has also resulted in increased safety for motorists. The number of injury accidents will be reduced by about 80 percent while the overall number of accidents will be reduced by about 40 percent.
The project will be funded by the City’s local improvement bonds that were approved by the Carmel City Council in 2016.
Here is a link to a video that shows the project: https://youtu.be/fmvDiEtf3tQ