Local governments and agencies in Florida are increasingly requesting “road diets,” or the elimination of through lanes, on State roads, so that the recovered right-of-way can be used to create space for multimodal facilities or other features. Such lane elimination projects are typically intended to:
• Create more livable environments
• Create Complete Streets
• Contribute to the local community’s economic development and vitality
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is supportive of communities’ goals livability, Complete Streets, and economic development goals. However, FDOT also has an interest in balancing local interests with statewide interests (e.g., statewide mobility). Lane elimination projects, by definition, impact roadways’ capacity for automobile and truck traffic. How does FDOT evaluate whether or not a given lane elimination project attains that balance?
To support individual FDOT Districts in developing a consistent and comprehensive process for reviewing lane elimination requests, FDOT Central Office contracted with Kittelson to develop a guidance document that provides an example lane elimination review process and serves as an informational resource for a range of issues and concerns relevant to evaluating lane elimination requests. This guidance document, Statewide Lane Elimination Guidance, was completed in December 2014. It is heavily informed by District experiences with lane elimination projects; review of before-and-after lane elimination studies; review of other agencies’ practices and policies regarding lane elimination projects; and input from a multidisciplinary advisory committee.
Healthy Road Diets for a Whole State
The Statewide Lane Elimination Guidance has been providing a foundation for the review of lane elimination projects statewide at the District level and at the Central Office level. It is also serving as a resource for local governments and agencies and for FDOT staff. The example process included in the guidance document has been applied to numerous lane elimination requests to date; FDOT reviewers have found it to be satisfactorily comprehensive and detailed so as to not require local governments to take over jurisdiction of lane elimination segments as happened frequently prior to the development of the guidance document.