WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – There are two road diets in West Springfield that were created to help maintain safe speeds in those areas, but how effective are they?
Road diets are proven safety countermeasures that reduce the number of conflict points and make travel safer for all roadway users. A study conducted by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) found some road diets can reduce crashes by almost 50 percent.
MassDOT has reduced a stretch of Route 20 and Route 5 in West Springfield from two lanes into one lane with the hope of making the area safer. The single travel lane helps reduce speeds by eliminating passing, provides a more consistent traffic flow, and reduces conflict points between vehicles.
Route 20 Road Diet Details:
Route 20 was identified as a high-crash corridor. From 2015 to 2018, a safety analysis between the intersections of East Mountain Road in Westfield and King’s Highway in West Springfield reported 212 vehicle crashes, including two fatalities. Another fatal crash in 2019 led to the city contacting MassDOT to find a solution.
In June 2022, the 1.2-mile section on Westfield Street (Route 20) from East Mountain Road in Westfield to Dewey Street in West Springfield was reduced from four to two travel lanes along the West Springfield/Westfield line. Bicycle lanes were added along with rumble strips on the edge of the median island and shoulders.
- June 1, 2021 – May 31, 2022: There have been 25 crashes reported on the stretch of Route 20 between East Mountain Road and Dewey Street in West Springfield.
- June 1, 2022 – May 31, 2023: The crashes reported were reduced to a total of 22.
Route 5 Road Diet Details:
In July 2021, MassDOT temporarily implemented a road diet on Riverdale Street (Route 5) southbound, between East Elm Street and the North End Bridge Rotary in West Springfield.
Due to the chronic speeding along a section of Route 5 in West Springfield, two travel lanes were reduced to one travel lane. The permanent lane closure and the speed limit reduction were implemented in May 2022.
- June 1, 2021 – May 31, 2022: There have been 16 crashes reported on the Route 5 road diet on a portion of Riverdale Street in West Springfield.
- June 1, 2022 – May 31, 2023: The crashes reported increased to a total of 19.
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