ANN ARBOR, MI – Out of nearly 700 respondents, Ann Arbor pedestrians and cyclists said they were more comfortable with reconfigured spaces created by the “Healthy Streets” initiative.
The pilot project, launched by the City of Ann Arbor in July, was a way to prioritize public safety for pedestrians and cyclists during the coronavirus pandemic by reconfiguring residential streets and parking lanes to promote social distancing for physical activity.
More than 70% of respondents used at least one of the newly-configured spaces and reported a greater sense of comfort and security, according to the city report.
Of the feedback from 695 respondents, 67% reported using one of the projects for walking or biking and nearly 81% reported specific projects improved their experience, the report states.
‘Healthy streets’ plan to slow traffic in Ann Arbor residential areas
During a three-day period, more than 4,600 bicycle trips were recorded at 13 locations, per the report, and cyclist traffic increased 54% on Thursdays, 60% on Fridays and 93% Saturdays. Reconfigurations for bikeways and walkways were both in and out of the downtown area.
Aside from safety, the pilot project was intended to fill “critical gaps” in downtown Ann Arbor’s bike network and provide possible designs for future transportation projects.
Overall, traffic decreased by 40%, comparing pre- to mid-pandemic volumes, according to the report.
The Division Street area of the project showed a higher volume of users, who connected to their home, work or commercial destinations from the area. However, the Miller/Catherine and South Main Street areas have a higher demand for cyclists and pedestrians but will require a lower-stress bike network, the report states.
Overall, 76% of survey responders noted the program contributed to “appropriate” physical distancing for bikers and pedestrians.
Speeds slowed down at all locations by at least 1 to 6 mph, according to the report, with top speeds reducing from 39 to 35 mph. Speeds at the Miller/Catherine area particularly declined by 6 mph. But overall, speed reductions are partially attributed to pandemic-related traffic reductions.
A low number of respondents reported that “all the pilot projects” best met their needs. Only 23% said their needs of navigating the downtown are were met.
View the full report online.
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