MONTHLY SPOTLIGHT - June 2022
Improving Safety and Mobility through a Road Diet in Richardson, Texas
“This project has been a successful collaboration integrating land use and transportation. The transformation of Greenville Avenue provides a safe connection between Richardson’s urban villages for people walking or biking. The City’s commitment to mobility through walking, biking, and transit support the success of the IQ as business and development thrives in the district. Richardson’s Transportation & Mobility Department is very proud of this accomplishment and partnership among departments and agencies. We celebrate the project’s success so far and look forward to making it even better.”
- Mark Nelson, Director of Transportation & Mobility, City of Richardson, Texas
CHALLENGE: The Richardson (Texas) Innovation Quarter, also known as simply “Richardson IQ,” is a 1,200-acre urban hub with a rich heritage of innovation and entrepreneurship located in heart of the booming Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. In 2018, the Richardson IQ Vision Study identified a series of strategies to redesign key streets for better safety and mobility.1 The study evaluated street capacity versus usage to help identify where opportunities for safety and mobility improvements existed. Where volumes are far lower than available capacity, there is space in the right-of-way to incorporate pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure and meet other transportation needs. Located in the Richardson IQ, Greenville Avenue was designed to have a capacity of 45,000 vehicles per day. Today, it has a usage between 11,000 (north of the DART Arapaho Center Station) and 13,000 (south of Arapaho Road) vehicles per day. Dating back to 1987, the highest average count of vehicles per day on Greenville Avenue occurred in 1988 with 18,734. With roughly three times the capacity it needs, Greenville Avenue was identified for potential bicycle and pedestrian safety and mobility improvements.2
ACTION: The City of Richardson began conducting a traffic study on Greenville Avenue in May 2019 to inform potential improvements. The study concluded that a road diet—or roadway reconfiguration that typically converts an existing four-lane undivided roadway to a three-lane roadway to improve safety, calm traffic, provide better mobility and access for all road users, and enhance overall quality of life—should be considered for Greenville Avenue. The study found that one lane could be removed from northbound and southbound Greenville Avenue and still operate within acceptable conditions while still leaving adequate capacity for potential increases in vehicular traffic along the corridor in the future.3 As part of the study, the City of Richardson conducted a survey of citizens and employees in the IQ and received strong support for redesigning Greenville Avenue to accommodate all modes of transportation, which would benefit the proposed redevelopment of existing surface parking at a transit station along the corridor as a mixed-use transit-oriented development (TOD). Additionally, as part of the study, the City of Richardson installed pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure as a temporary demonstration project to test the effectiveness of the improvements and collect data to better inform the decision-making process for staff and elected officials before installing improvements permanently. Through a community engagement event (See Figure 1) to reveal the project, citizens expressed a desire for separated bike lanes (a proven safety countermeasure), use of green paint for transition zones, and vertical barriers as a buffer for the bike lanes.
Figure 1. Richardson, TX Community Engagement Event. Source: City of Richardson
Figure 2. Greenville Avenue Before (top) and Demonstration Project Improvements (bottom)
Source: City of Richardson
See Figure 2 for a comparison of Greenville Avenue before and after the City installed temporary demonstration project improvements. In May 2020, the City completed the safety and mobility improvements. In September 2020, the City received Federal funding to reconstruct the intersection of Greenville Avenue and Arapaho Road to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2023.
RESULT: The Greenville Avenue road diet project will result in the removal of excess vehicle lanes and reallocating that space for bicycle lanes, and improved pedestrian infrastructure, including an at-grade pedestrian crossing, that serve to better integrate the light-rail station with the Innovation Quarter. The Richardson IQ Vision Study—supported by its zoning and form-based code—will help promote future development that encourages walking, cycling, and transit as the primary modes of transportation in the corridor. The City’s public engagement efforts played a key role in the planning process and in the ultimate success of this project. These improvements will help the City achieve its vision for a corridor that is safe for all users and will support TOD and other compatible development plans.
Learn more about the Greenville Avenue Mobility Improvements.
Learn more about the Road Diets (Roadway Reconfiguration) Proven Safety Countermeasure.
Learn more about the Bicycle Lane Proven Safety Countermeasure.