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MoveSM Recommends: A Safety-focused Road Diet for Sessom Drive and Academy Street

Updated: Jan 21, 2020

Where Academy Street meets Sessom Drive is an often dangerous stretch of road in San Marcos, TX - a place that cars speed as if on a four-lane race track and pedestrians and cyclists are relegated to fend for themselves at the unprotected edges of the right-of-way. Take the opportunity to walk or bike or drive along this road and you will find that there is much room for improvement. Between 2014 and 2018, there were over 50 reported collisions on Sessom and Academy between Holland and Comanche, 28 of which occurred between Alamo and Read Street alone.

In November, the City of San Marcos started to review the final stages of design for the Sessom Drainage Improvement Project (construction start anticipated in summer 2020), which involves reconstructing entire portions of Academy Street and Sessom Drive. When it was understood that there were no plans to improve the roadway striping for safer conditions, MoveSM reached out to the City to offer recommendations on how to improve the safety of these roads for cars, cyclists, and pedestrians.

These recommendations include 1) provisions for a road diet with either a four-to-three lane conversion or four-to-two lane conversion, 2) the addition of on-street protected bike lanes to reduce conflicts between cyclists and pedestrians / cars, and 3) added improvements to the intersection of Sessom and Academy to require cars to use more caution and move more slowly through the intersection. These recommendations are based on studies have shown: that by either reducing the number of lanes and / or introducing a central turn lane, crashes can be reduced and car speeds lowered, reducing the severity of crashes, and that rates of safe cycling are improved when dedicated infrastructure is provided.

As shown in the video and graphic below, a road diet with less lanes reduces potential conflict points and creates more space in the right-of-way for cyclists and pedestrians.

For our full recommendations and correspondence, see the PDFs at the links below:

Most importantly, we encourage others that want to see safety improvements on this area of roads to also urge the city to change their current design to reconstruct the same roadway configuration. Get in touch with us by leaving a comment or email to support a road diet on Sessom Drive and Academy today!

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