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Poll: What do you think of the proposed Duke Street traffic change?

Traffic backed up off Duke Street, courtesy Jill Hoffman

The city is moving forward with a pilot program that could — deliberately — make traffic slower on residential streets near Duke Street to push more drivers onto the main arterial roads.

Phase 1 of the new program, scheduled to start in January and run through March, would change signal timing along Duke Street and nearby roads, punishing drivers using residential streets to get to Telegraph Road and I-395 beyond that with longer wait times. Phase 2, which would start next fall, would prohibit access to Telegraph Road from West Taylor Run Parkway.

The goal is to push drivers, many of whom are using shortcuts recommended by navigation apps, back onto the intended main routes.

The city cautioned that, while this is aimed at alleviating the traffic difficulties for residents on the city’s side streets, there could be some growing pains.

“In the first few weeks, more vehicles could queue on neighborhood streets until they realize those routes are not faster,” the city said. “If you live in the neighborhood and want to access Duke Street before 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., it could take you longer.”

Overall the presentation said the city will monitor the impact of the pilot to see if there’s a decrease in travel times on arterial routes and an increase of travel times on neighborhood streets, and to see whether traffic increases on nearby Quaker Lane as drivers adjust.

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