Central Avenue Transformation

Central Avenue Transformation

Work began last week to transform Central Avenue to improve safety for all users.

The changes include bump-outs at Central & Giddings, Central & Leland, and Central & Ainslie. A designated bike lane will be installed from Goodman to Gunnison, and a shared lane from Lawrence to Montrose. Finally, right-turn-only lanes will be installed on Central on both sides of Lawrence.

While Central and Giddings was initially selected to receive bump-outs during the 2015 Participatory Budgeting cycle, my office took the break from participatory budgeting in 2017 to work closely with the Department of Transportation to come up with a more comprehensive plan to calm traffic and improve pedestrian safety along this stretch of Central.

This section of Central Avenue is frequently used as a cut-through to the Kennedy Expressway with motorists often speeding and failing to yield to pedestrians – as state law requires – despite clear crosswalk markings and signage. Last November, a two-year-old boy passed away and a 39-year-old woman sustained injuries after they were struck by a vehicle that ignored a stop sign on Giddings Avenue. The woman and the boy were crossing Central Avenue when they were struck.

As a government official, a part of my duties include looking at how we can be more thoughtful in designing our streets and implementing infrastructure to ensure that they are safer for all users, including cyclists and pedestrians. But all of the tools we have at our disposal will not be effective unless motorists also adjust their behavior and practice more caution. Minding stop signs, reducing our speed, and staying focused on driving by actively looking for pedestrians and cyclists will continue to have the biggest effect on safety in our streets.

Work is anticipated to be completed by October 1.