Are Downtown Kalamazoo Lane Changes Working?
It's no secret that after the changes that were made downtown to Michigan Avenue the traffic habits have changed. Driving through downtown now takes much more caution and awareness of the road and who else is using it. Often times before the changes were made to the streets there would be drivers speeding through at over 50 mph, switching lanes without looking, and cars were being side-swapped.
Now, in just over a month since the changes were made the City of Kalamazoo has cited that traffic patterns are better and things seem to be safer in the downtown area. Of course, this is great and is something we should be striving for as a community but i have questions about this data. I'm wondering if the designs they have for the traffic lanes are actually working or if there are other factors.
According to data coming from the City of Kalamazoo they are reporting that there are 33% fewer crashes and/or accidents since the changes were made. They also bragged about the fact that this decrease in crashes has come while also slightly increasing the travel time between Westnedge Avenue and Walbridge Street. While all of this is nice, it doesn't seem legit.
Are these lane changes actually working or is something else playing into this new data? One of my main questions with the data is are there still the same amount of drivers traveling through downtown Kalamazoo? I have seen many individuals from around the city/area who have complained about the new traffic arrangement. Are these people avoiding downtown creating fewer drivers to document?
Are the roads actually any safer? I believe people are still driving just as fast and just as recklessly as before but are very selective about their lane choice as either of the outside lanes would present possible dangers. I'm not saying they aren't working but's just a little skeptical to not acknowledge those who are avoiding the area.