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Johnson Ave. in SLO to get new additions as part of pedestrian safety project

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Posted at 6:22 PM, Apr 13, 2023

Johnson Avenue will soon get some new additions as part of a pedestrian improvement project approved by the San Luis Obispo City Council in 2022.

A pilot road diet will be installed from the area south of Bishop Street to Laurel Lane.

That means the road will be reduced to one lane in each direction, and a buffered bike lane and a middle left turn lane will also be added.

City officials say this road layout is proven to reduce speeding and improve bike and pedestrian safety. According to the Federal Highway Administration, this layout led to average reductions in collision rates from 19-47%.

“Every day you just hear about bike accidents or once a week I hear about a bike accident. Someone hitting someone, so yeah, protected bike lanes would be great,” said Glen Peterson, San Luis Obispo resident.

The project will also include replacing the passive beacon at Johnson Ave. with a rectangular rapid flashing beacon and installing a temporary median beacon refuge island at Sydney to allow pedestrians to cross Johnson in two stages.

We asked residents about other improvements they’d like to see on roads throughout San Luis Obispo.

“Just cleaning up potholes. Just a little bit safer pedestrian traffic. Things like that would be great to see around downtown SLO,” Peterson said.

“Potholes. That’s the big thing in this county is just potholes," said David DePaola, San Luis Obispo resident.

While pothole repairs are not necessarily part of the pedestrian safety project, the city will conduct paving this summer that will address many of those issues.

The pilot road diet project is expected to go in during the summer of this year. If the changes prove successful, the city will make them permanent.