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New city report says that the Seminary Road Diet is working

Seminary Road (Staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated 4:10 p.m.) Fewer crashes, reduced traffic volumes and more bike riders —  a new report shows that the Seminary Road Diet is working.

The information comes from a Post-Project Implementation Evaluation by the Department of Transportation and Environmental Services. The evaluation shows has been a 41% reduction in crashes along the one-mile stretch of Seminary Road between North Howard Street and Quaker Lane since the road diet went into effect in 2019, according to a report released Tuesday (Nov. 1) by the city’s Department of Transportation & Environmental services.

That’s not all: there have been zero crashes involving serious injury or death, and traffic does not appear to have diverted to neighborhood streets.

Morning peak traffic has increased by 15%, although average peak travel times decreased between 11% and 17%.

The Seminary Road Diet — reducing the four through lanes of the roadway to two and adding bike lanes and a turn lane in the center — was one of the most controversial issues of 2019.

Mayor Justin Wilson said that he’s read the report, and says that the change did what it was designed to do.

“I’m pleased, but not surprised,” Wilson said. “Based on my conversations with many residents in the Seminary corridor, including many who initially opposed the change, the new Seminary has improved the quality of life for walkers, bikers and drivers alike.”

It took the city two-and-a-half years to compile the data for the Seminary Road Project Evaluation Report. The delay in reporting was attributed to needing traffic patterns to return to pre-Covid levels before determining the impact of the road diet.

The report found that traffic volumes during peak travel times decreased between 11% and 17%. Extreme speeding is also down, with the percentage of people driving faster than 35 miles per hour on the roadway now at 7% of drivers.

The Post-Project Implementation Evaluation determined:

  • Average annual crashes on Seminary Road decreased by 41%
  • Non-severe injury crashes decreased by 14%
  • There were an average of .8 fatal or severe crashes per year from 2015 to 2019, and zero from 2020 to 2022
  • Property damage-only crashes decreased by 8%
  • Extreme speeding is down, with the percentage of people driving faster than 35 miles per hour decreased from 11% to 7%

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