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Can decreased lanes lead to safer roads?

Can closing lanes actually improve traffic safety? This sounds counterintuitive but that is exactly what Mayor Kip Holden is betting on. On Baton Rouge's Government Street, plans are moving ahead to reduce the lanes from four to two. Those in the social media arena are questioning the city's plans.

The plan to reduce the number of lanes came after a traffic consultant conducted several traffic studies on Government Street. The new plan would close two lanes in favor of creating a left-hand turn lane. The Government Street plan will better accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians. According to the consultant, the road will not have any increased congestion and should suffer fewer car accidents after the closure. The key to decreasing traffic and accidents lies in the left-hand turn lane. When there is no dedicated turn lane, drivers wishing to turn can hold up traffic. Cars behind a turning vehicle tend to dodge around the turning vehicle which can sometimes result in traffic accidents.

In addition to the turn lane, officials believe this change in lanes will work because this part of town is laid out in a street grid. This street grid provides drivers with a variety of options to get from point A to point B in the event of congestion or an accident. If the public is educated on the use of other routes, it is believed that the new plan will work to the advantage of commuters.

In the meantime, as Baton Rouge officials work to improve the city streets, accidents are still occurring all around the state of Louisiana. Everyday unsuspecting motorists are injured by negligent drivers that violate the traffic laws. These accident victims need compensation for their injuries and an accident attorney can help these victims get relief.

Source: ABA Journal, "Government Street traffic won't be made worse by lane reductions, planners say," Diana Samuels, March 20, 2014.

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