Spinning our Wheels

Spinning our Wheels is a commuting blog about the challenges of getting around Atlanta by car, bus, MARTA, bicycles and on foot written by transportation reporter David Wickert

Does Peachtree Road in Buckhead need to go on a diet?

A trademark street in Buckhead may be the next major thoroughfare in Atlanta to be getting a slim down as part of what transportation planners call a "road diet."

Peachtree Road - currently three lanes wide in each direction - is in need of repaving. At the same time, the Georgia Department of Transportation is considering restriping the road to make it safer. Currently, the street lacks a center turn lane, which leads to a lot of sideswipe accidents.

The plan for the section of Peachtree Road between Deering Road and Peachtree Battle Avenue unveiled by GDOT last week would go even further, though. It would subtract one northbound and one southbound lane in order to squeeze in four-foot-wide bike lanes in each direction. That's in addition to a new center turn lane. It would look something like this:

The section north of Peachtree Battle up to Pharr Road would remain six lanes wide. However, a northbound lane would be converted into a center two-way turn lane.

It would look like this:

This isn't a revolutionary idea. In fact, road diets have been around for at least two decades. According to the Federal Highway Administration, the most common type of road diet involves converting a four-lane road into a two-lane road with a center, two-way left-turn lane. The reclaimed space is then used for bike lanes, pedestrian refuge islands, bus lanes and parking.

Road diets are steadily increasing in popularity, according to FHWA. They're part of an overall shift by many states to implement a Complete Streets policy, one that embraces not only automobiles but walkers and bicyclists on America's roadways.

You may recall that Ponce de Leon Avenue underwent a road diet in 2013.

What do you think about road diets? Are they a good solution for Atlanta?

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