Implementation - Road Diets
One way to create the space necessary for bicycle lanes is to reduce the number of vehicular traffic lanes on existing streets. This is often called a "road diet" and has the added benefit of reducing motorist speeds to better approximate posted speed limits. When motorists travel faster than the roads are designed for, it poses a significant danger to all road users, but particularly active transportation modes such as bicyclists and pedestrians. Road diets reduce crashes over all traffic modes, including motorists, by 19-47%. Little Rock's BikePed Coordinator attended a road diet conference in Tennessee in August 2016. Here's more from League of American Bicyclists' Steve Clark:
"Make it your goal to create as much dedicated space for bicyclists as possible. This can often be accomplished without great expense -- by narrowing all of the existing travel lanes and/or reducing the number of travel lanes. Austin, Texas has added 140 miles of bike lanes just through their resurfacing program (pavement preservation projects) and a new design standard of 10 feet for travel lanes. In Houston, no travel lane can be more than 11 feet. And I saw countless examples in Chicago where they have gone less than 10 feet in order to provide for bike lanes [Picture 7]. Yes, even on their major streets!
Ideally though, you will have something better than just a 5 or 6 ft bike lane next to a bunch of narrow travel lanes. This is where lane reduction strategies come in. A roadway with six lanes has a poor safety record compared to one with 5 lanes. And 5 lanes (while better than 4) is not as good as 3 lanes. I've seen many places where they have done a 5-3 lane reduction and have made the entire right lane a buffered or protected bike lane. And of course, the 4-3 lane reduction road diet is now being promoted as one of the 9 proven safety counter-measures by the FHWA.
In short, by narrowing travel lanes or reducing the number of travel lanes you can often create safe and relatively comfortable space for people on bikes."
- Steve Clark, League of American Bicyclists