Elmwood Avenue on 'road diet' with reduction in travel lanes


The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) announced that it would implement a traffic pattern change along a portion of Elmwood Avenue starting next week on Monday, April 15. Called a road diet, the changes are designed to increase safety and make it easier to make left turns into homes, businesses and side streets. The project covers about two miles of Elmwood Avenue from Post Road in Warwick to Park Avenue in Cranston. The roadway will be re-striped from two lanes in each direction to one lane in each direction, but include a center turning lane. This allows through traffic to continue flowing unimpeded while left turning vehicles use the center turning lane. RIDOT also is performing upgrades to traffic signals along this corridor, including the installation of a new traffic signal at the intersection of Park Avenue and Elmwood Avenue. That signal is expected to be operational in late spring/early summer. RIDOT has implemented road diets successfully for several years on roadways across Rhode Island. They are recommended by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and have proven to reduce crashes. Under FHWA guidelines, this type of change has been shown to produce favorable results in terms of safety and operations on roads with 15,000 vehicles per day or fewer. RIDOT analyzed traffic to be sure implementing a road diet on Elmwood Avenue would not cause delays. Even accounting for small increases in traffic over time, the analysis showed traffic volumes less than 12,300 vehicles per day through 2020 – well below the threshold. The installation schedule is weather-dependent and subject to change.


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