In early 2013, a conceptual design to "right size" Beaver Street was considered by the FDOT and endorsed by the City Council. Right-sizing Beaver would have involved reducing the 4-lane section to a 3-lane section with one 12-foot travel lane in each direction, one 12-foot center turn lane, bike lanes on each side as well as new curbs, gutters and sidewalks. At the time, it was believed that this "road diet" would substantially reduce accidents and cause only slight intersection delays and reductions on average vehicle travel speed. The addition of bike lanes on Beaver Street was viewed as a potential solution to connect the area with the S-Line Greenway, Springfield, Riverside and
Could the reconstruction of Beaver Street assist in the redevelopment of this early 20th century warehouse district? Only time will tell.
A few months later, FDOT Secretary Ananth Prasad spoke out against road diet projects that would result in less capacity for moving cars. While it is unknown if Prasad's position had any direct influence on the Beaver Street project, the plan to "right size" the street by adding bike lanes has since been abandoned by the FDOT.
Current plans will add 6-foot sidewalks and an extra foot in width to each of the existing four travel lanes. Turning radius at major intersections will also be increased to aid truck movement along the industrial corridor. The reconstruction project is expected to cost $13.25 million. Roughly, $650,000 will be used to acquire needed right-of-way along the constrained roadway. Construction is scheduled to begin in October 2015.
This image highlights sidewalk conditions near WhiteWave Food's dairy at Beaver and King Streets. Beaver Street is currently a roadway with several gaps within its sidewalk network. This project will resolve this situation, increasing pedestrian safety for the Robinson's Addition neighborhood.
Next Page: Plans for Beaver Street