Austin Blvd ‘improvements’. PLEASE DON’T MAKE THE same mistakes as Lido Blvd [I am scared they might]

Be honest. Does anybody think Lido Blvd is safer than it was before those improvements they did back in …. what… 2011? Well, it’s not. See:

I found those from a really quick search, but there are much more buried in the blog. That being said:

LET’S LEARN FROM THE PAST.

I drive Lido Blvd daily and see the same speeding, especially past the schools. I see the same confused pedestrians taking risks running across the street. I watch kids on bicycles on sidewalks, just feet away from automobiles going 30+ over the speed limit. Don’t even mention those shrinking planters filled with mowed weeds.

That median was (apparently) supposed to be a safe spot for those crossing the highway street. Is standing on a platform between six lanes of fast moving traffic really something you’d consider to be safe?

Let’s move to Island Park. With a $5 million federal grant, t looks like Austin Boulevard will be getting a much needed make over sometime this year.  According to the Long Beach Patch (read: Island Park’s Austin Boulevard Set For Major Improvements) here are some key points we should be seeing:

“Widening the road’s center left-turn lanes from nine to 11 feet, allowing cars to have more maneuverability. [link]

I’m not much of a religious man, but I do find myself praying whenever I make left turns on Austin, so I can get behind that.

The regular travel lanes and parking lanes will also be widened.[link]

Parking lane. Yes. Many businesses count on street parking, so that definitively needs  to be wider. But the regular travel lanes do not. This is safety 101. The wider you make the travel lanes, the faster automobiles will go. In my opinion and experience of perceptive-driving all day, those lanes are wide enough.

“pedestrian safety upgrades made to the seven-lane road. New crosswalks with pedestrian crossing lights will be added, and the lights will have a countdown, so pedestrians know how much time they have left to cross.[link]

STOP THE PRESSES! Seven lane road? So they are sticking with the 3 on each side with one in the middle? This is exactly what they did in Lido Beach (see articles above for Lido Beach Mistakes)!

If I recall, originally on Austin Blvd the proposal was to eliminate one south bound lane, but leave three going north for evacuation. So does this means NO bike lane? With all this new residential development that’s happening  (or might happen) in Island Park/Harbor Island, we are still expecting everybody to drive to Long Beach if they want to come to the beach? HOLY CRAP, THEY NEED TO TURN ALL THOSE EMPTY BEACH-FRONT LOTS INTO PARKING GARAGES. Heck, knock everything down and bring in more parking. Glorious Parking Garages-By-The-Sea.

I know people will tell me “Anthony, with beach traffic, three southbound lanes are needed,” but is it really? I’m not much of a gambling man, but I’d wager better timed lights could and would solve that issue.

Other upgrades involved: pedestrian crossing lights, bump-outs, blah blah blah.  All that is good, but seriously, no bike lanes? Whatever…I guess read the entire article over at the LB Patch: Island Park’s Austin Boulevard Set For Major Improvements

What did we learn from all this? Nothing.

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