South 13th Street Improvement Project
The goal of this project is to make 13th Street, from South Street to Lincoln Mall, safer and more efficient while also enhancing the mobility of the neighborhood. Potential improvements to 13th Street were identified and envisioned by community members during the development of the 2016 South of Downtown Revitalization Plan .
This improvement project will convert 13th Street, from South Street to Lincoln Mall, from a four-lane undivided street to a three-lane street with improved operations and safety. This street will be safe and convenient for all users and will enhance overall mobility.
- The proposed improvements to 13th Street include:
- Adding a center two-way, left-turn lane
- Enhancing crosswalk safety
- Adjusting on-street parking to meet residential and business needs
- Adding bike lanes in additional street area
- Converting street lights to energy-saving LEDs
- Replacing aging or diseased trees
The mixed-use character of 13th Street between South Street and Lincoln Mall, as well as the proximity to downtown Lincoln, attracts residents traveling to and through the area using all modes of transportation. The average daily traffic volume along 13th Street makes it an ideal candidate for conversion from a four-lane to three-lane street, according to Federal Highway Administration standards.
A Federal Highway Administration study found that the conversion of such a facility reduces the total number of crashes by approximately 29 percent.
A three-lane street is safer and more efficient than a four-lane, undivided street
- Converting Four-lane Streets to Three-lane Streets
- One lane of traffic removed
- Center two-way, left-turn lane added
- Traffic capacity and flow maintained or enhanced
- Pedestrians cross fewer lanes of calmer traffic
- Easier turns into driveways and side streets
- Increased business visibility and customer access
- Bicycle traffic served with excess street surface
Several features contribute to the enhanced safety of a three-lane street:
- Better use of lanes calms traffic, reduces weaving, enhances pedestrian safety, and reduces left-turn conflicts.
- Two-way, left-turn lanes reduce left-turn, head-on, sideswipe, and rear-end crashes by separating opposing traffic and dedicating a lane for left-turns.
- Dedicated space for different modes of travel enhances travelers’ awareness of other travelers on the street.
Comparing Performance of Existing Three-Lane and Four-Lane Streets
To understand how a three-lane street would perform, Lincoln residents only need to travel farther south on 13th Street.
At South Street, 13th Street turns into a three-lane street with a two-way, left-turn lane. Side-by-side comparisons of four-lane 13th Street with three-lane 13th Street show the potential for increased safety and increased traffic volumes with a three-lane design.
The portion of South 13th Street that is already three lanes carries 40 percent more traffic but has a 65 percent lower crash rate.
The Lincoln Community Foundation, in partnership with the City of Lincoln Sustainability Coordinator, secured a $150,000 “Partners for Places” grant to help pay for the project.