This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.
Central District News reports that a study is underway to reduce 23rd Ave from 4 lanes to 2 and allow parking at certain times of day.
I don’t much care for this idea. I find the design pattern of “sometimes this is a travel lane, sometimes it’s a parking spot” to be maddening as a driver. The city uses it along NE 50th St. in Wallingford and parts of Aurora Ave north of 73rd St, among other places. It’s confusing.
I do support reducing the number of lanes on the street, preferably to one travel lane in each direction plus a center turn lane. Similar N-S streets in the area with similar traffic volumes (Broadway, 12th Ave, MLK Jr. Way) get by with this 3-lane approach.
As Dan @ hugeasscity wrote a while back, 23rd is just too darn narrow for its current configuration:
The root problem is simple: the 23rd Ave right of way (ROW) is too narrow, and it should never have been made into a four lane arterial. The ROW on this section of 23rd Ave is only 60 feet, which, with four 12-foot travel lanes, leaves only six feet for sidewalk on each side. There’s no room for a planting strip, and if a tree is put in, it ends up blocking half the sidewalk.
For comparison, even the side streets such as Marion have a wider ROW at 65 feet, with eight feet of planting strip between the sidewalk and the curb. Martin Luther King Way is 85 feet wide, and has only two travel lanes.
23rd Avenue has gotten so bad it needs to be completely blown up and rebuilt. Why not think differently this time around?