Safer, Better Roads: New Rochelle’s Complete Streets Program
Recently Mayor Noam Bramson of the City of New Rochelle, NY noted on his website that the City’s 10-year capital budget “makes an important commitment to redesigning New Rochelle’s street network so that it is safer, more attractive, and more appealing for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.” Mayor Bramson is referring to New Rochelle’s Complete Streets program, whose success is due in large part to the talents of AKRF transportation engineers Michael Beattie, P.E., PTOE, Marissa Tarallo, P.E., and Sanam Lakhwara.
The Complete Streets approach grew out of the Smart Growth movement and is a holistic way of thinking about streets—what they are and how they should work, so that streets are safer, more convenient, and usable for all, regardless of age, ability, or mode of transportation.
In New Rochelle, this initiative first took shape with AKRF’s development of a Comprehensive Street Plan, which sought to provide safe connections to traverse the City; attract millennials; allow residents to “age in place”; and incorporate current and future projects. Based on these goals, we developed a City-wide Complete Streets vision with the objective of improving north-south and east-west connectivity; providing enhanced pedestrian and bicycle facilities; accommodating vehicular traffic; and maintaining priority roadways.
For the first phase of the project, AKRF collected data, analyzed existing conditions, and met with members of the community. The efforts of this phase resulted in the identification of over 20 roadways that would form a City-wide network of Complete Streets. One example was Quaker Ridge Road, one of the City’s main east-west corridors. The existing conditions study noted that this roadway was overdesigned for current traffic levels. It provided access to multiple land use types (schools, religious centers, retail centers, parks, and residential neighborhoods), but did not provide sidewalks or bicycle facilities.
During the second phase of the project, AKRF developed conceptual designs for six roadways of the Complete Streets network. The process included walking audits with City staff and community members, conceptual Complete Streets design development, cost estimates, and a presentation of designs to the City Council.
Quaker Ridge Road was one of the corridors selected to benefit from a Complete Streets conceptual redesign. The redesign included wider, ADA-compliant sidewalks and curb ramps; a bike lane; additional crosswalks; two lanes of traffic instead of four; and enhanced signal phasing to eliminate pedestrian-vehicle conflicts at the North Avenue intersection. These elements would enhance the pedestrian and bicycle experience, accommodating multiple modes of travel while maintaining acceptable traffic operations. Ultimately, it would allow the community to better connect with the different land uses along the corridor.
Using the the Quaker Ridge Road conceptual design as a model, AKRF assisted the City in applying for funding from the New York State Department of Transportation to further study and implement the process. Consequently, The Quaker Ridge Road Complete Streets redesign was awarded over $3.5 million, the largest award in the Mid-Hudson region.
Learn more about AKRF's Traffic and Transportation practice.