Busy Troy streets placed on road diet for safety

Troy officials began work Monday, June 4, 2018, on a road diet, making changes to some busy downtown streets in order to improve safety and flow in the square area. STAFF/STEVE BAKER

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Troy officials began work Monday, June 4, 2018, on a road diet, making changes to some busy downtown streets in order to improve safety and flow in the square area. STAFF/STEVE BAKER

TROY – The city of Troy is putting some of its busiest streets on a road diet.

A road diet is a lane reduction or road change in which the number of travel lanes and/or width of a road is reduced to achieve specific improvements.

The first road diet will be along Market Street as part of implementing downtown traffic and parking study findings designed to maximize parking and provide wider, safer driving lanes. The work on Market Street will go from Water Street to Simpson Street, an area that includes the Public Square.

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Similar work is planned later as part of a West Main Street reconstruction project in 2021-2022, said Patrick Titterington, the city’s service and safety director. He said the road diet project was a recommendation for study consultants from Woolpert.

“Overall, a diet should calm traffic — not necessarily slow it down, but reduce the confusion of which lane to be in entering the roundabout, or Public Square — but also should allow for longer vehicles to park in the diagonal spaces without sticking out in traffic,” Titterington said.

The project will involve the change from two lanes to one lane in each direction and a shared center left-turn lane.

The other major change in the project will be eliminating stoplights on the Public Square. The stoplights were bagged the weekend of June 2 and 3 and will be removed in 30 days, Titterington said.

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To address pedestrian safety on the square, the city will add a “refuge Island” between traffic lanes. The islands will consist of flower pots to allow pedestrians to walk midway through the intersection and be able to wait safely to cross the rest of the street if there is a lot of traffic.

“I’ve seen it many places and it works well, especially when the pedestrian only has to cross one active traffic lane in each direction and not two (after the diet),” Titterington said. More pedestrian crosswalk signs are planned.

Mayor Mike Beamish said he supports the road diet project.

“I look at it as a safety feature slowing down traffic that I see flying through the downtown area,” Beamish said.

He said the safety islands should be safer than the traffic lights entering the Public Square’s traffic circle, where people often are seen driving through red lights.

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“I see it as safety in the downtown proper area,” Beamish said.

Anyone with questions about the road diet projects is asked to call the city engineering department at 937-339-2641.

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