READING, MA — The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is extending the Road Diet Pilot Project on Main Street in Reading. The pilot, which started in April and was originally scheduled to end this fall, will now go through the winter into 2021. MassDOT says the extension will allow for a more comprehensive sampling of data to be collected and evaluated when traffic volumes may be more comparatively aligned with pre-pandemic levels.
The impacts of COVID-19 on traffic volumes and patterns in Reading and across the state have been significant. Although traffic volumes have risen as a result of the phased reopening in Massachusetts, MassDOT wants to make sure that traffic data and public input being collected on the pilot are accurate and representative of future traffic conditions. While the agency expects that final lane configurations will be determined and installed in spring 2021, exact dates will depend on weather and traffic conditions.
MassDOT plans to announce the results of the pilot evaluation and determine final lane configurations in March 2021. If it is determined that safety is not improved and traffic impacts reach unacceptable levels for an extended period of time, the lane configurations will be returned to the original pre-pilot conditions after the pilot evaluation period ends and the final pavement surface and permanent pavement markings are installed.
The program reconfigured travel lanes on Main Street to create a center left-turn lane along the corridor and dedicated left-turn lanes at signaled intersections. The goal is to simplify turns for cars, help provide more consistent traffic flow and reduce the likelihood of severe crashes and injuries.
Road diets are safety countermeasures that reduce the number of conflict points and make travel safer for all roadway users. A study conducted by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) found that four-lane to three-lane road diets reduce the total number of crashes by 19 to 47 percent. Some road diets have shown an even greater improvement—as much as a 70 percent reduction in crashes along a single stretch of road.
There will be a virtual public meeting Sept. 29:
Time: 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
How to Participate:
· Visit https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/103204968792006672 to register for the meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
· Participants must register to watch the presentation and submit questions and/or comments. Attendees who call in without registering will only be able to listen to the meeting. If you prefer to call in using your telephone, call in using the numbers below.
o Call in Number: +1 (415) 655-0060
o Access Code: 574-108-511
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