The narrowing of
Abrams St. has been in the minds of the Downtown Arlington movement for several years. It has to do with a term called “walk ability,” and making downtown a “destination.” But the reality of the situation is that the Downtown movement only wants “walk ability” as it pertains to the government building area of downtown. When it impacts businesses, they want “on street parking.” So which is it to be, “walk ability or on street parking.” Therefore, I see the argument as being a bit disingenuous.
Now staff has done some great work when you add the information that was received through an independent study. The study went to the effort of taking a look at the delays that would occur if the street were narrowed to three or four lanes. The study’s conclusion was that four lanes, without dedicated left turn lanes, would take longer to transit than the three lane option with a dedicated left turn lane. They are the pros and I am just a recipient of the study’s information. As an engineering student I realize that passing any element through an aperture, water, sand, nuts and bolts or traffic, depends on the size of the aperture. If an orifice is 4inches wide it should take 25% less time to pour a gallon of water through, than if the aperture is 3 inches wide. Therefore, if lanes are 10 ft. wide, it should take less time to pass the same amount of traffic through a 40 ft. orifice than a 30 ft. orifice, even with traffic turning left without dedicated lanes. That is simply physics applied to a common solution. So I don’t buy the fact that a four lane scenario will take longer to transit than three lanes.
Now let’s take a look at the problem as it applies to the situation. I have walked the streets and looked first hand at the area in question. I have noted that the setbacks on the north side of the street are significant enough to put pavers in and enjoy walk ability/the destination of downtown. The problem is the south side of the street. If we took out the center, or fifth lane, it would allow another 10 ft. that could be added to the sidewalk on the south side to increase the “walk ability” aspect and still have 40 ft. for traffic to transit. But the study shows that this is the scenario that will cause the longest delays to transit. (Discussed above) So this is the dilemma as I see it, and reasoning behind my decision to select the four lane option. I think that drivers are people too and they pay just as much taxes as pedestrians. Therefore, I will vote for the four lane option.