Main Street changes coming this summer

Students may return to a more walkable Main Street next school year.
Suggestions from a 2008 State Farm-sponsored roadway safety survey, which analyzed Main Street traffic from Sheridan Road to Glendale Avenue, are set to go into motion this summer, although no exact timeline has been implemented.
“I think it’s going to be safer and students will feel more comfortable walking along West Main,” said Second District Councilwoman Barbara Van Auken. “When [students] want to visit some of the restaurants or shops that are along Main, they’re not going to have cars whizzing right next to their shoulder. It will be a more inviting place to walk.”
The city received a state grant of $48,491 to help fund the initiative, which includes installing additional speed limit signs, upgrading crosswalks, installing “no right turn on red signs” for north and southbound traffic on Sheridan and reducing the number of lanes to “calm traffic.”
The suggestions were outlined on a memorandum from Peoria Public Works Director Dave Barber, who was unavailable for comment.
However, Van Auken said Option 4 from the memorandum has been selected, and city council will not vote about it unless the issue becomes much more costly. She said the decision was up to those who use the area, which includes the West Bluff Council, area businesses and Bradley.
The selected option includes lowering the speed from 30 to 25 miles per hour from Bourland Avenue to University Street and painting three and five feet buffer zones between sidewalks and the road.
“This is a way to get people to start thinking about stopping driving so close to the curb,” Van Auken said. “Ideally what we want to do is expand the sidewalk wider in that area, but we don’t have the money for it right now.”
The plan also includes adding more parking, some of which will be metered and some of which will be free. Van Auken said she thinks this will draw more people into Main Street’s businesses and restaurants.
“It’s psychological, because finding a place to park can be a hassle,” she said. “So it’s not a barrier to you going there … you think, ‘I will be the one who will get the spot right in front.’”
Van Auken said although 24,000 cars pass through the Main Street area per day, it’s not a help to businesses if they’re driving by too quickly to stop. She said she thinks this plan will help attract more customers.
Walkable West Bluff campaign member Lisa Ferolo said the WWB supports the plan and is also happy Option 4 was selected.
“We’re pleased a plan has actually come together and that it’s a plan that has principles we agree with – things like on-street parking, slower speeds and crosswalks we were happy to see,” she said. “This is a huge step, but we would like to understand the implementation schedule a bit more.”
Ferolo said she would also like to see more crosswalks added in the future.
To view the whole memorandum, visit bradleyscout.com.
 

MEMORANDUM

To: Barbara Van Auken, City Council District 2
From: David Barber, Public Works Director
Cc: Scott Moore, City Manager
Steve Settingsgaard, Police Chief
Date: March 12, 2010

Re: Main Street Safety Improvement

In 2008 the City of Peoria, in conjunction with the local MPO, PPUATS, participated in a roadway safety assessment study sponsored by State Farm. As a part of that study, “high accident” locations in the tri-county area were reviewed. The “high accident” location focused on in the City of Peoria was the Main Street corridor, from Sheridan Road to Glendale Avenue, which includes the curve near Crescent Avenue. Several of the suggested safety improvements for this corridor were: install additional speed limit signs, upgrade the crosswalks, install no right turn on red signs on Sheridan Road for both northbound and southbound traffic, and to give the road a “diet” by reducing through lanes to calm traffic.

As part of the safety study, State Farm’s consultant, Opus International, assisted local municipalities in applying for safety grants to implement the proposed safety improvements. On March 24, 2009, City Council voted to approve an application to the Illinois Department of Transportation for Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funding to incorporate these proposed safety improvements on Main Street from Sheridan Road to Glendale Avenue, and to support a Capital Budget Request for the local 10% match, if grant funds were received. A safety improvement project estimated at $48,491 was submitted to IDOT. On September 24, 2009 the City received notice from IDOT that the funds were approved for construction in 2010. A striping and signage plan for Main Street from Sheridan Road to Glendale Avenue can be seen on Attachment A.

Attachment A shows the proposed plan to restripe Main Street from Sheridan Road to Glendale Avenue as a three lane cross-section, with one through lane in each direction and a bi-directional center left turn lane. This will be accomplished by dropping a westbound through lane at Globe Avenue and an eastbound through lane at Sheridan Road. Potential proposed parking is also shown on this plan sheet, where “P” indicates a proposed parking space and “M” indicates a proposed metered parking space. Further study and/or input from local businesses may be needed to determine if there is the need for any posted loading zones (LZ) for loading and unloading at businesses. The current practice of loading and unloading in a travel lane would not be acceptable with only one through lane in each direction. Parking was not placed on the curve/hill which runs on Main Street from North Street east towards Glen Oak Avenue, due to safety concerns.

Using information from previous meetings and the Main Street Traffic Study performed by Hanson Engineering in 2008, additional effort was spent to continue these concepts to improve the pedestrian safety on Main Street from Sheridan Road to University Street. This portion of the Main Street corridor would be beyond the scope of the HSIP Grant, so any work would be 100% City funded. Taking the Hanson study and traffic counts into consideration, it appears that Main Street from Sheridan Road to Bourland Avenue could be restriped similar to the corridor between Sheridan Road and Glendale Avenue, as a three lane section, without major disruption of traffic service levels. This can be seen in Attachment B. As with the previous section of Main Street, the placement of loading zones must be considered in front of area businesses.

The design of the roadway striping becomes more complicated on Main Street between University Street and Bourland Avenue. This is because of the very congested nature of the intersection of University and Main and all the turning traffic at this location. Using available traffic information, four options have been generated for discussion and consideration:

Option 1: No change, see Attachment C. Currently the pedestrian safety features include: pedestrian countdown signals at Main/University intersection and “Yield to Pedestrian” signs for the right turning motorists. This option continues to provide maximum capacity for motorists in this corridor. To help calm traffic in this area in order to increase pedestrian safety, a speed reduction to 25 mph could be posted.

Option 2: Parking on south side, see Attachment C. The Hanson Study in 2008 showed that one eastbound through lane could be eliminated in this section, without a major reduction in traffic level of service. This through lane, which is on the south side of Main Street, could be converted into parking or a wider sidewalk/parkway. While this option would add some on-street parking spaces, they would not be located in a desirable location. Because of the existing, available parking for the shopping center on the south side of the roadway, it is likely that the users of these parking spaces would largely be the businesses on the north side of the street. Although some of the persons crossing to the north side of the street will utilize the pedestrian signals at University, many pedestrians will be tempted to cross mid-block—through heavy traffic. Unless there was a positive way of encouraging them to cross at the intersection, this space would be better served as a widened sidewalk/parkway area. Additionally, the persons entering and exiting parked cars in the first block of the south side will have to contend with traffic turning onto Main from University, as well as the heavy through traffic in a narrow (11’) lane. This situation will likely lead to more personal injury and property accidents in this corridor and would not be seen as a safety improvement. To further help calm traffic in this area to increase pedestrian safety, a speed reduction to 25 mph would be recommended.

Option 3: Parking on north side, see Attachment D. The attachment shows a layout of this corridor with parking and loading zones allowed on the north side of Main Street. The Hanson Study in 2008 showed that two through lanes were needed to accommodate the westbound traffic levels at this location for the traffic queuing for the University/Main intersection. The study also showed that one eastbound lane could be dropped in this area. Therefore, to provide parking on the north side, the travel lanes would have to be shifted to the south. This shift of traffic lanes to the south will cause an unacceptable offset for traffic crossing University on Main Street at this busy intersection. Additionally, because the traffic counts show that the traffic is consistently heavy at this location from 7 am to 7 pm any cars parked on the north side of the street would have to interrupt the flow of traffic, which would be on very narrow (10.5’) lanes, to enter and exit the parking spaces. Furthermore, many of these spaces may be blocked by stacked traffic waiting for a green light at University making them virtually unusable at times. This scenario will likely result in additional property and injury accidents and would not be seen as a pedestrian safety improvement. This option is not recommended.

Option 4: Provides pedestrian buffers on both sides. This scenario, seen on Attachment D, shows a painted out area on each side of the roadway that will buffer the pedestrians on the curbline sidewalk from the through traffic on Main Street. The Hanson Study showed that one eastbound through lane east of University Street could be dropped. By utilizing this lane width, an area would be painted out to prevent traffic on each side of Main Street on the block from University Street to Underhill Avenue. To minimize the offset at the University/Main intersection, the buffer would be slightly more on the south side than the north. Parking would not be allowed on the block from University Street to Underhill Avenue, but the additional distance between the pedestrians and the through traffic will give the roadway a more walkable appeal. Additionally, if this proves to be a successful means to give the pedestrians more comfort on this roadway corridor, a future CIP request could be made to curb in this painted pedestrian buffer and widen the sidewalk and/or add landscaping. Several parking spaces could be striped on the north side of Main Street between Underhill Avenue and Bourland Avenue in the area outside the transition from one to two lanes. To further help calm traffic in this area to increase pedestrian safety, a speed reduction to 25 mph would be recommended.

______________________________________

Staff Recommendations for improvement of the Main Street Corridor:

Sheridan Road to Glendale Avenue (HSIP grant area):

  • Reduce roadway to a 3 lane cross section to calm traffic.
  • Restrict right turn on red for both northbound and southbound Sheridan Road traffic at Main Street.
  • Restrict left turns into and out of Crescent Avenue.
  • Install additional 30 mph speed signs.
  • Install additional chevron signs on the curve/hill near Crescent Avenue.
  • Update the painted crosswalks.
  • Mark parking areas and loading zones where appropriate.
  • Install parking meters between Crescent Avenue and Glendale Avenue.
  • Restrict parking from 2 am to 6 am to prevent overnight parking and allow for street cleaning and snow plowing.

Sheridan Road to Bourland Avenue:

  • Reduce roadway to a 3 lane cross section to calm traffic.
  • Restrict right turn on red for both northbound and southbound Sheridan Road traffic at Main Street.
  • Install additional 30 mph speed signs.
  • Update the painted crosswalks.
  • Mark parking areas and loading zones where appropriate.
  • Restrict parking from 2 am to 6 am to prevent overnight parking and allow for street cleaning and snow plowing.

University Street to Bourland Avenue (Option 4, pedestrian buffers on both sides):

  • Drop one eastbound through lane at University Street.
  • Stripe Main Street from University Street to Underhill Avenue with two westbound through lanes and one eastbound through lane.
  • Taper down to one eastbound lane between Underhill Avenue and Bourland Avenue.
  • Stripe out pedestrian buffers on both sides of street along the curbline, (3’ on the north side and 5’ on the south side) to minimize the traffic offset at the Main/University intersection.
  • Request administrative approval to reduce the speed limit to 25 mph.
  • Install 25 mph speed signs.
  • Update the painted crosswalks.
  • Mark parking areas and loading zones where appropriate (north side between Underhill Avenue and Bourland Avenue).
  • Restrict parking from 2 am to 6 am to prevent overnight parking and allow for street cleaning and snow plowing.