Terre Pruitt's Blog

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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?  

4 Responses to “Many People Feel Diets Don’t Work”

  1. Lee karnes said

    We have a business in willow glen and have seen a decrease in people coming in because traffic is more congested. Very few bicylests are using the bike lanes during business hours. And besides we are a business district and need cars coming down Lincoln ave . cars are driving more recklessly out of frustration and are using the turning lane, as you put it, as a suicide lane. It can take up to four lights just to turn right at Willow. We need the lanes put back the way they were. We’ve been patient, but enough is enough. I’ve had customers who have registered a complaint and were told if they don’t live in the neighborhood then their complaints would not be as considered as the neighbors. Our customer base comes from all over San Jose. And if they are not important to this survey,they by all means are important to us !

    Like

    • Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Thank you for giving real feedback from a business owner. I am sorry for you loss of business, but I am happy to know that my thinking is sound logic: Less cars means less business. Less cards doesn’t mean less congestion. Less lanes means more congestion. And, yup! I avoid Willow Glen, now, but when I have to be down there I sit through several cycles of a light when it used to not be THAT bad.

      It doesn’t make sense that YOUR CUSTOMERS’ complaints won’t be “heard”. That is so frustrating. The people that give you business and have to deal with the congestion don’t have a say? That doesn’t make sense . . . unfortunately it does sound like bureaucracy!

      Perhaps social media can help? Facebook/twitter . . . I don’t know . . . I know that a lot of areas are going to more “bike friendly” which is making it less driver friendly . . . which is causing more frustration and road rage. Doesn’t make sense to me . . .

      Like

  2. Sonj said

    As a real estate appraiser, I actually give a bonus credit for houses close to the nice walking downtown Willow Glen, as it is in high demand–to WALK there. As a driver, I try to bypass Lincoln or even Pine and Minnesota, unless I have lots of time. I know I’d never find parking, Unless going for NIA at Halanda…so I don’t patronize shops there due to the traffic. I’m sure the rents are really high for businesses, so I hope the walking traffic is producing enough customers for the area.

    Like

    • I am not positive of the accuracy of the line of thinking that WALKERS and BIKERS are not SHOPPERS. But I tend to think that people on a stroll or bicyclists are not going to be big spenders. Whereas people that drive to an area to shop are actually planning on spending money, because they are there specifically to shop . . . but with the ADDITIONAL traffic CONGESTION caused (because, let’s face it, Lincoln has had traffic congestion for a long time, but it seems to be worse now) many people seem to be reporting the fact that they are no longer frequenting Willow Glen. As you say, you don’t go because of traffic. Parking is also rough there, but the garage has helped and many businesses have a deal with the banks there that allow non-banking customers to park in the bank lots.

      According to the one business owner that commented here, the walking traffic is not making up for the reduction in cars.

      The reduction in the number of cars has not reduced the congestion. So, to me, it doesn’t seem like a good trade-off business-wise.

      Like

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