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Improving first/last mile conditions near highways: An investigation of access and coordination barriers

  • Author(s): Russell, Adam
  • et al.
Abstract

In considering how transit riders must walk or bike near highways to reach transit stations, highway infrastructure becomes a significant barrier to transit access and an impediment to a safe and comfortable transit trip experience. As such, areas surrounding highways can be priority pathways for first/last mile improvements, which is in turn complicated by the California Department of Transportation’s management of highway right-of-way. In planning first/last mile infrastructure improvements, Metro’s First/Last Mile Planning program must coordinate with Caltrans to understand traffic and freight factors in a station area and implement any first/last mile interventions. This study examined three case study station areas for common first/last mile barriers at highways and interviewed staff to understand inter-agency coordination experiences. It finds that policies, such as criteria that dictate when to include Caltrans in planning processes, that seek to yield predictability in both inter-agency communication and first/last mile improvement design can aid in overall coordination at highway-adjacent sites. In addition, ramps typically create the most dangerous and difficult-to-improve conditions and largely lack clear guidance for bikeway and pedestrian crossings. The study examines potential street improvements to improve comfort and safety and explores possible design and policy barriers for implementation.

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