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December 17, 2013 / Brandon

http://bwengr.com/blog/civil-engineer-street-widening-buses/

Civil Engineer, Street Widening, and Buses #CivilEngineer

Since it is the Christmas season and I am driving around like mad to get lights to decorate the house, and don’t forget the presents, I noticed something odd with the streets around Los Angeles. Here comes a Civil Engineer located in Los Angeles, to analyze the situation from a simple viewpoint.

I really do need to take some pictures of what I am talking about, but after driving around on a mission to get what needs to be done during this time of craziness, I am not up for stopping, getting out of the car, and taking pictures. A Civil Engineer needs to get their errands run and get back to business! But I will talk about some oddities that I have noticed. The major one is where major street widening has taken place. Normally this involved widening an entire street artery or streets connecting to improve the flow of traffic. That makes sense. Eventually as properties are improved the street will widen. This happens in a few ways. Either one by one each property dedicates their frontage and once everyone dedicated the street will become wider. Or one by one in front of each property the street will widen and one day will be wide throughout the entire street.

So I was driving on Fair Oaks in South Pasadena and noticed something really funny going on. I used to drive this frequently for a past job to go to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works in Alhambra. And as we ventured into our own company I see myself doing the same thing just not as frequently. Queue the street improvement project on Fair Oaks. And after this was completed, I drive on the street and see some peculiar traffic. Why is this peculiar? Well the street has been widened to also allow parking parallel to the street. So the traffic should be smooth as it looks like at least one additional lane has been opened up. Sounds good so far. But where this is really odd, is that the bus stops have not been widened. So every bus stop along this Fair Oaks route has an island that juts out into the street. As the bus stops to pick up and drop off passengers, guess what happens? Traffic backs up. Why? Because the bus is now stopped in the slowest lane completely halting traffic. Traffic flow is not improved if you place a vehicle that makes constant stops in the new lane.

This becomes a huge bottleneck. So during whatever time of day has more traffic flow, the buses impede on this flow of traffic. I can’t imagine that this was done on purpose. But at the same time this doesn’t seem to be an accident. Just a little more simple analysis from a Civil Engineer in Los Angeles.

The post Civil Engineer, Street Widening, and Buses appeared first on B+W Engineering and Design Blog.

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