The Borough of Carlisle recently approved a multi-million dollar “traffic diet” that includes decreasing the number of lanes downtown and adding bike lanes. This has created quite a stir on the news blogs, and brought out some nasty anti-biker comments.
Carlisle sits at the intersection of several large roads, so it attracts a lot of truck traffic and has spawned mega-sized warehouse operations all around it. The problem is that many of these trucks use the town as a shortcut, or their GPS units bring them downtown for the shortest route, or the main streets provide a detour if I-81 closes down due to an accident.
The borough is trying to reclaim their streets by making things harder for trucks and nicer for pedestrians. If they can clear out the truck traffic and increase the pedestrian traffic, they are hoping that they can rejuvenate the downtown for restaurants and boutiques.
I think it will work. Its happening in other cities, and Carlisle has a nice “fascade” to begin with. Add the college atmosphere, and I can see a downtown similar to Princeton, which is very bike friendly.
It’s going to be an interesting experiment. If you add more roads, it will attract more traffic. But what happens when you take roads away?