electrical bike Shoreline Bike Plans Stymied at Japanese Level Street in Groton
GROTON — A state proposal to reconfigure lanes on a street close to Electrical Boat’s Groton campus may very well be a key piece of a proposed bike-friendly hall alongside the shoreline from Rhode Island to the Connecticut River, however the Connecticut Division of Transportation says there isn’t room on the street for conventional bike lanes.
The proposal from CTDOT would reconfigure the lanes on Japanese Level Street between its intersections with Benham Street to Chester Road, eliminating one southbound driving lane in order that there could be one lane in both course, with wider shoulders.
That part of street serves the South Yard of the Electrical Boat campus, the place the corporate is ramping up for main submarine building applications which are anticipated to create an extra 5,000 jobs on the Groton campus between 2019 and 2020. Electrical Boat is against the challenge as a result of it worries reconfigured lanes may disrupt its building.
Route 349, together with that part of Japanese Level Street, is included in a plan for an “Japanese Shoreline Path” that might be a bike-friendly hall from the Rhode Island state line in Pawcatuck to the Baldwin Bridge over the Connecticut River, which was proposed in a regional bike and pedestrian plan the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments composed final yr.
The reconfigured street would have one 12-foot large driving lane in every course, with shoulders about six toes large. The southbound lanes would break up into the prevailing three-lane configuration on the intersection with Benham Road, chopping out the shoulder.
Brian Kent, a panorama architect and vice chair of the Connecticut Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board, mentioned the challenge ought to embody marked bike lanes on every shoulder, with a buffer strip between the driving lanes and shoulder.
“The problem is to persuade the DOT at an engineering stage that that is greater than the half-mile stretch of street,” Kent mentioned.
The bike-friendly hall is supposed to hyperlink shoreline cities along with a route that comes as near the shoreline as doable, to permit cyclists to expertise the sweetness and communities alongside it, together with Bluff Level, Harkness Park, Mystic and Noank, Kent mentioned.
The final word purpose is to attach that path to New Haven, after which search designation as a part of the Bicycle Route 1A that might spoke off of a motorbike route that approximates U.S. Route 1. That designation would appeal to funding and encourage improvement of extra bike-friendly areas for native cyclists across the hall, Kent mentioned.
Chris Granatini of Tighe & Bond, the challenge supervisor on the CTDOT proposal, mentioned throughout a digital information session held Monday that the street isn’t large sufficient for bike lanes. Kent believes it’s, and likewise mentioned flip lanes at intersections may very well be eradicated, particularly the right-only flip lanes on the intersections of Japanese Level Street with Chester Road and Benham Street.
“The proper flip lanes are pointless,” Kent mentioned. “In the event that they eradicated these, the bike lane may go to the intersection.”
To get by the Chester Street intersection beneath the state proposal, a bike owner must exit the shoulder and enter the stream of visitors to go by the intersection, Granatini mentioned. He mentioned the division may contemplate eliminating the flip lanes.
Groton asks, “can it wait?”
The part of street the place CTDOT proposes to change the lanes accommodates two entrances to the South Yard of the Electrical Boat shipyard – the principle gate entrance for submarine building and an entry street supporting building of a brand new submarine meeting constructing, in keeping with a letter from Electrical Boat Vice President Joseph Drake to Metropolis of Groton Mayor Keith Hendrick.
Drake wrote that the visitors has elevated considerably at these entrances, and is predicted to stay elevated by the late 2030s as Electrical Boat works by the Columbia and Virginia-class submarine building applications.
In a letter to CTDOT, Hendrick wrote that town may help the challenge sooner or later, however solely after Electrical Boat completes that building, scheduled to proceed by 2023.
“As soon as the key building at Electrical Boat’s south yard is finalized, this challenge needs to be reconsidered,” Hendrick wrote.
The challenge wants the approval of the Metropolis of Groton earlier than CTDOT can transfer ahead. Granatini mentioned that if town decides to not go ahead with the challenge, the state will stripe the street in its authentic configuration, and town can come again to CTDOT sooner or later if it needs to rethink.
“Pavement markings are usually not everlasting. Pavement will not be everlasting” Granatini mentioned.
Pedestrian security considerations
Street “diets” are sometimes used to enhance security on four-lane roads the place left turns are harmful. A food plan on a four-lane street may eradicate a driving lane in every course and embody a middle lane for vehicles making left turns throughout visitors, Michael Morehouse, a challenge supervisor from Fitzgerald & Halliday mentioned in the course of the informational session. Street diets additionally scale back driver speeds, which reduces car collisions and drastically reduces pedestrian crashes, he mentioned.
CTDOT Spokesman Kevin Nursick mentioned one of many earliest street diets in Connecticut was on Silver Lane in East Hartford over 20 years in the past, earlier than street food plan was a time period. Extra just lately, a four-lane part of Burnside Avenue in East Hartford was transformed right into a two-lane street with five-foot marked bike lanes and seven-foot shoulders in 2016.
Thirty-five pedestrians and cyclists have been concerned in collisions on that stretch of Burnside Avenue between 2009 and 2015, six deadly, in keeping with Bike Walk Connecticut. Parker Sorenson, challenge engineer with Fitzgerald & Halladay, mentioned there was one crash on the part of Japanese Level Street between 2016 and 2018 – a front-to-rear collision that solely resulted in property harm.
In April, a person who labored at Electrical Boat in Groton was killed when a car driving south on Japanese Level Street struck him as he crossed the street inside a crosswalk from the South Gate, in keeping with The New London Day.
Groton City Councilor Aundré Bumgardner, who questioned CTDOT concerning the bike lanes in the course of the listening session, mentioned he didn’t suppose the street food plan addressed considerations of pedestrian security within the space, which incorporates a number of parking tons for Electrical Boat staff – and particularly on the Chester-Japanese Level intersection.
“What we see at this intersection is that, sadly, dashing automobiles are enabled by poor avenue design, which resulted in a life taken too quickly,” Bumgardner mentioned. “Now we’ve a major alternative to introduce visitors calming measures to Route 349.”
The dearth of pedestrian lodging across the Electrical Boat campus was recognized in a regional plan for the New London space as submarine constructing expands. The plan advisable flashing beacons at pedestrian crossings, extra crossings, accessible ramps, raised or textured pavement and elevated lighting.
Bumgardner mentioned extra individuals who work at Electrical Boat need to be inspired to stay in Groton, and a technique to do this is to create walkable, various neighborhoods. Investments in transportation infrastructure ought to embody greater than street resurfacing, with extra give attention to sidewalks and bicycle infrastructure.
“At a time when persons are utilizing their vehicles much less and bikes extra, we needs to be recognizing these traits in adjustments in habits of our constituents, and actually listening to their calls for for safer streets,” he mentioned.