East Main Street Operational Analysis and Restriping Plan
Purpose and Overview
NCDOT publishes a resurfacing schedule every year which identifies the roads which they maintain that are planned to be resurfaced within the next four years. In 2016, East Main Street was included on the resurfacing schedule for 2020. The resurfacing provides an opportunity for the Town to consider modifying the pavement markings which are placed during the resurfacing, pending approval by NCDOT. Furthermore, Town Staff have observed a declining trend in traffic volumes along the 300 block of E Main Street, indicating that it may be possible to reallocate some of the space currently used for vehicle travel lanes into bicycle lanes to increase safety for all users and improve the access for left turning vehicles. Changes to the pavement markings can be done as part of the resurfacing mentioned above, but NCDOT also requires an operational analysis be conducted to determine the impacts of the proposed reallocation. Both the operational analysis and the restriping plan are subject to approval by NCDOT.
- Fall 2018: Selection of consulting firm to conduct analysis
- Spring 2019: Development of traffic volumes
- Base year (2017) volumes are based on counts collected by the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro MPO
- Future year (2030) volumes are based on a growth rate developed based on historical traffic volumes (from NCDOT), our regional travel demand model (Triangle Regional Model) traffic volumes, and traffic impact analyses from adjacent developments. The established annual growth rate of 0.75% was approved by NCDOT and used to ’grow’ the base year volumes to future year volumes, a total growth of about 10 percent.
- Summer 2019: Development of initial operational analysis with review and comment by Town Staff and NCDOT
- Fall 2019: Development of final operational analysis. NCDOT also decided that they wanted to review a concept restriping plan prior to approval of the operational analysis.
- Winter 2020: Development of concept restriping plan, submitted to NCDOT for review and presented to Town Council on 3/10/2020
- Public input to occur before development of final plan and presentation to Council. Additional details can be found at the bottom of this page.
- Spring 2020: Development of final restriping plan, to be presented to Town Council on 3/24/2020 and subsequently submitted to NCDOT.
- April 2020: Due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and remaining details needed to be finalized, the resurfacing was scheduled to Summer 2021.
- Summer 2021: Due to scheduled work by OWASA to replace a water main in the vicinity of E Main St (expected spring 2022), NCDOT has delayed the resurfacing till Summer 2022.
The Operational Analysis was required by NCDOT prior to approval of a restriping plan. The consultant developed this analysis using a software program called Synchro. This program utilizes capacity analysis equations documented in the Highway Capacity Manual (HCM) which is an industry standard manual developed by the Transportation Research Board (TRB). This manual provides a standard methodology for analyzing roadway capacity for a variety of different scenarios (signalized, unsignalized, urban, rural, freeway, etc.). In addition to the base year (2017) and future year (2030) scenarios, there are also separate analysis periods for the AM and PM peaks, and separate scenarios for the No Build (existing) and Build (concept plan) geometric configurations. Furthermore, NCDOT provides additional standards for this type of analysis in their Congestion Management Guidelines, which establishes the setting within the software which must be used to ensure consistent analysis.
Restriping Plan Overview
Based on the historic trends observed in downtown traffic, which showed a steady decline on the 300 Block of E Main Street, the NCDOT resurfacing provides an opportunity to modify the pavement markings to provide bicycle lanes and left turn lanes for vehicles. This is being done to improve safety along the corridor, increase the access for turning vehicles, and increase the total throughput of people moving through the corridor. The proposed restriping plan includes:
- Bicycle Lanes: Currently, many people on bicycles do not feel comfortable riding in traffic on E Main Street. As a result, they will often switch over to the sidewalk, which increases the number of conflicts with people walking and waiting for transit. Adding bicycle lanes should help reduce the frequency of these conflicts.
- Bicycle Boxes: These create a clear space for people riding bicycles to make a left turn and to wait out in front of vehicles during a red signal before turning.
- Intersection Bike Markings: Create a clear demarcation of the conflict areas between people on bicycles and vehicles within intersections.
- Center Turn Lanes: A center turn lane which will provide storage for vehicles turning left at signals or into driveways to reduce the risk of crashes, improve traffic flow, improve access for left turning vehicles.
- Maintain Parking: The parking on Rosemary Street and E Weaver Street will be maintained but the overall throughput of the roadway (number of people which can be moved per hour) would increase.