Fremont Street will soon see a reduced number of traffic lanes after a change in the road’s layout was approved by the Galesburg City Council, Monday night.
The Illinois Department of Transportation has been encouraging local agencies to consider all forms of transportation in their road designs, including bicyclists and pedestrians. Aldermen gave approval to a recommendation putting bike lanes onto Fremont Street through space leftover from reducing the lanes, or the so-called “road diet.”
City Engineer Wayne Carl says multiple studies have concluded that three lanes can handle the traffic flow just as well as four lanes, citing the North American Highway: Level of Service grades.
“It’ll still operate a service level of B,” says Carl. “With the three lane given a 1.6 second additional delay to the intersection. So it’s a pretty minimal delay to the intersection and it will handle the same traffic, the same level of service.”
Two aldermen stated their opposition to the project for reasons of safety, saying that studies were inconclusive or that traffic flow on Fremont Street is too heavy for bicycles. First Ward Aldermen Ken Goad says he’s still not convinced by the safety being afforded to bicyclists on Fremont Street.
“Sometimes Fremont Street is like a zoo,” says Goad. “You’ve got traffic going all kinds of ways, especially at Seminary Street where the gas station convenience store is. People going North on Seminary Street, they turn left onto Fremont and make an immediate right into the gas station and if anybody’s in their way, you will get run over.”
Fremont Street was reported to carry an average of more than 11-thousand vehicles per day in 2009, but Carl says he’s working to get more current numbers.
The City Council approved the recommendation 5-2.