The infamous "road diet" has been a pain in the butt for many residents of Southern California who are already plagued by horrible traffic.
In the past, the road diet has been more of a nuisance than a help for commuter safety as emergency services struggle to get to accidents during gridlock on roads that have suffered from the "diet." And now, the place that could be the ultimate proof of a road diet failure is Paradise.
Around four years ago, the city decided to narrow a portion of the main road through the bustling downtown from four lanes down to two in an effort to boost commerce and promote traffic and pedestrian safety.
Records show two other roads were also narrowed.
The so-called Skyway “road diet” slowed traffic, and a local civic group donated benches and landscaping to beautify the zone.
However the Skyway became the only route open for people to escape the Camp Fire as it barreled though the town at eight football fields per minute on November 8.
Up to 27,000 residents tried to escape the worst wildfire in California history, finding themselves stuck in gridlock traffic with some even perishing in their vehicles as the flames swallowed them.
Mayor Jody Jones said Tuesday that it was not clear if the narrowing of Skyway caused the long delays.
“I don’t believe that it really mattered,” Jones said. “I don’t think there’s any town in the world prepared with a roadway infrastructure that could evacuate their entire town all at once. They’re just not built to do that.”
To make it more friendly to shoppers, six sets of curb cutouts encroach on two lanes once dedicated to traffic as part of the Skyway project plans.
Read more at the LA Times.
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