Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Archive for May 7th, 2015

Many People Feel Diets Don’t Work

Posted by terrepruitt on May 7, 2015

Not too long ago one of my Nia students asked me if the Road Diet in Willow Glen was working.  I laughed because I don’t know what the goal of the diet is.  I think that if the reason for changing the lanes on Lincoln Avenue in San Jose from four to two was to decrease the number of cars driving down the street, then perhaps it worked.  I think there are fewer cars actually using the road because, as I said there are two lanes now, one going one way and another going the other way.  Half as many lanes.  If with the reduction of lanes they wanted it to take longer to get down the street even with fewer cars, then it is working.  I am not in downtown Willow Glen everyday, but when I have been down there, it does seem as if there are less cars . . . but it does not seem like there is less traffic congestion.  The cars back up to what seems like the length of the entire downtown.  So it doesn’t seem like traffic congestion has been eased at all.  So I don’t know if it is “working” because I don’t know if that was the goal of the city.

It seems to me . . . but again, I am not in downtown Willow Glen every day, nor do I own a storefront there, but it seems to me that fewer cars driving down the street would mean less business for the stores.  Especially if the lower number of cars is creating a worse traffic situation.  While I have not done a large survey, the people I have talked to have shared with me that they are avoiding downtown Willow Glen because “it is worse than it used to be.”  Also, the people who I have talked to that live and work down there say that it is now taking them 10 to 15 minutes longer to get to work or home.  I do believe that two things might ease the traffic situation with this Road Diet — 1)  if the lights were actually properly set up to allow for left hand turning cars to turn at the same time and 2)  if people actually understood the purpose of the reversible lane/suicide lane.  Even though there are designated turn lanes at the lights now, the lights are only green going one direction.  And at places where there is not a light, I have seen people stop all the traffic behind them and make a left hand turn from the lane of traffic that is supposed to be able to continue to flow.  It is as if people do not know what a middle lane is for.

The reversible lane/suicide lane is there to allow left hand traffic to pull into so they can make a left hand turn and allow traffic behind them to keep flowing.  It is also to help people coming out of the businesses, allowing them to turn left passing over one lane of traffic, then pausing to make certain it is safe to merge into the traffic going the direction they want to go.

Also, apparently, in downtown Willow Glen, it is where all the delivery trucks park so they can make their deliveries.  Granted that seems better than blocking a lane of traffic, but that is until you see the driver/delivery person dart out into the traffic from behind the truck.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose,  Nia at the San Jose Community Centers, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYoI have seen a petition against the Road Diet on Facebook from some Willow Glen business owners.  As I said, there are fewer cars on the road, so to me that equates less business, but I don’t know.  I am curious if there is more walking traffic and more bike traffic.  Curious, if the increase (if there is one) in bicyclists and pedestrians equates to more business for the businesses.  As I said, I have only talked to people who are avoiding the area, I haven’t talked to people actually down there — because I am one of them avoiding the area.  Also, I have only spoke with at a couple of businesses whose employees now have a longer commutes.

At least the term is accurate it is a “ROAD Diet” as opposed to a Traffic Diet or Congestion Diet because from what I have seen it has caused more traffic and congestion.  Perhaps they should remove the “diet” from the name altogether, because many people agree diets don’t work.

I believe it was scheduled for a three month test.  I am looking forward to seeing the results and finding out what the City will decide.  Again “is it working” is a matter of opinion, I guess.

What do you think?  Do you frequent downtown Willow Glen?  Have you experience a Road Diet in your area?  

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