Design street networks that provide alternative route options, which reduces traffic congestion.
Public surveys consistently identify traffic congestion as a major perceived concern in Lexington. In general, there is insufficient understanding by the public on how a more connected street network could help alleviate traffic congestion.
Within disconnected street networks, traffic is concentrated along major roads because there are not alternative route options for commuters. Alternatively, well-connected streets provide direct, continuous routes and multiple route options, and this has proven to effectively reduce roadway congestion. Connectivity also reduces response times for emergency vehicles and improves access and efficiency for transit, school buses, and service vehicles, including solid waste trucks and street sweepers.
When traffic is concentrated to fewer roads, these roads are widened and additional lanes are added to accommodate the large volumes of traffic. Wider streets encourage faster speeds, making them more dangerous to travel as a pedestrian or bicyclist, and crossing a wider street is difficult—especially for children, the elderly, and the disabled. Of pedestrians killed in 2007 and 2008, more than 50% died on wide roadways (Earnst & Shoup, 2009).
Instead of wider streets with multiple lanes, roadway capacity should be in-creased by providing multiple, smaller parallel streets. With a more connected street network, traffic will be dispersed along alternative routes, and the demand for wider streets will lessen.
For the above reasons, and in order to lessen traffic congestion and make Lexington’s street network safer for all modes of transportation, dead-end streets and cul-de-sacs should be discouraged except where connections are not topographically or environmentally feasible. In places where connections are not feasible for topographic reasons, safe non-vehicular access should still be provided. As stressed in Theme A, roadway connections are imperative, and should be pursued wherever possible.