The Hollister Interim Striping Project in Old Town Goleta promises safer streets and better walkability, but some key safety elements are missing from the design.
The Hollister Interim Striping Project
Hollister Avenue serves as a main corridor in Old Town Goleta, providing access to the businesses and neighborhoods there. Traffic studies found that this portion of Hollister suffers four times the state average for collisions and three times the average for collisions resulting in injuries. The study also showed that about 9% of collisions were pedestrian- or bike-related.
In response, on January 2021, the City of Goleta committed to restriping Hollister Avenue to reduce speeds and through-traffic while also prioritizing and enhancing safety, access and mobility for all modes of transportation. The striping plans are meant to be incremental/temporary and do not adjust the street width or existing sidewalk (ie. no hardscaping), but do implement parking and multi-modal improvements envisioned in the Hollister Avenue Complete Streets Corridor Plan Project.
The Project includes:
One vehicle and bike lane in each direction
A non-traversable painted median
Back-in angled 90-minute parking along the north side of the street
Parallel 90-minute parking along the south side of the street
Traffic signal equipment and timing upgrades
Following the restriping, the impacts of the project on the collision rates and traffic flow will be evaluated for how well it serves the needs of Old Town and will inform the final design of streetscape improvements once funding becomes available to construct the Hollister Avenue Complete Streets Corridor Plan.
We are in support of the project and are looking forward to it being implemented in summer 2023, however there are several aspects which we believe deserve more consideration/public comment, namely the amount of bicycle parking facilities, bicycle and pedestrian safety at the Hollister/Fairview intersection, design of the transition from four to two lanes near the Fairview Ave intersection, and the measures of "success" following the restriping.
One of the main objectives of the restriping project is slowing traffic in order to make the road safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers alike given the area's history greater than average collision rates. However, as they are currently drawn up, the restriping blueprints makes no mention of plans to include space for new bicycle parking facilities. Old Town is conspicuously devoid of bicycle parking; people often lock their bikes to street signs. We strongly encourage the city county to consider repurposing a few of the planned parking spaces for bicycle parking in anticipation of an increase in bicycle traffic following the restriping. More specifically, if bicycle racks are placed in the parking spaces closest to intersections, not only will cyclists have a designated safe, convenient, and accessible place to pull off to the side to park their bikes, but line-of-sight distances will also be improved for drivers attempting to turn at said intersections, further fulfilling the goal of improving safety for all in Old Town. We are keenly aware that parking has been a contentious issue throughout this project, however, two or three fewer spaces is more than worth the safety and security that will be gained for cyclists.
The restriping project offers the opportunity to make the Fairview intersection, which has long been the dangerous bane of many cyclists' existence in Old Town, safer for users. However, the restriping plans do not appear to make any changes to this intersection despite several public requests for the inclusion of a bike box to make bicycles more visible at the traffic light, especially given the many right-on-reds taken by vehicles there. That said, we urge city council to to consider making space for a bike box, in addition to creating sidewalk curb extensions to make pedestrians safer on the corners where drivers so often take dangerous right turns.
The location of the transition from four to two lanes is simply poor engineering design; the change to traffic patterns should be made prior to the Fairview intersection - this would be safer and less-confusing for drivers, and therefore for bicyclists and pedestrians. We are aware that beginning the road diet prior to the Fairview intersection is made difficult by the airport's right of way in that area, however we strongly support communicating with the airport land owners to agree on a strategy to prevent what is currently a needlessly constricted lane transition.
The only measures of "success" the city plans to analyze are impacts on traffic flow and car "level of service." However, bicycle and pedestrian safety, as well as benefits to local businesses should likewise be measured and considered with highest priority. We are petitioning Goleta City Council to consider collecting pre- and post-restriping sales data for businesses located on Hollister in Old Town. The flow of cars is secondary to public health and wellness; no matter the mode of transport people choose, there should be facilities for them to do so safely and without fear of injury or death.
The City's Project Page
October 28, 2022
Hollister avenue old town interim striping project approved
A similar road diet case-study
Demonstrates that the road diet did not increase congestion or travel time (in fact it reduced it!) and that it concurrently increased business for local stores.