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Thread: Should cities convert one-way streets to two way?

  1. #26
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    Try driving through there in winter. People park so retarded (probally do to snow removal issues) that you'll probally clip a few if you don't cross the double yellow.

    Great mixed-use of buildings in the area, could use some infill though. It also has great character unlike the elmwood village which has increasingly become yuppiefied.
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


    Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro): Heat 1995

  2. #27
    I find it interesting that the prevailing opinion among the "middle grounders" here (those who see a place for both 1-way and 2-way streets) seems to be:

    - slow narrow streets: 1-way
    - fast wide streets: 2-way

    when the city which has the most pedestrian traffic anywhere in this country happens to do the exact opposite.

    Personally, I think Manhattan works just fine. Big streets one-way; small streets two-way.

  3. #28
    Quote Originally posted by doinky
    I find it interesting that the prevailing opinion among the "middle grounders" here (those who see a place for both 1-way and 2-way streets) seems to be:

    - slow narrow streets: 1-way
    - fast wide streets: 2-way

    when the city which has the most pedestrian traffic anywhere in this country happens to do the exact opposite.

    Personally, I think Manhattan works just fine. Big streets one-way; small streets two-way.

    NYC is on another urban planet from other American cities. It is really not a good example for comparison.

  4. #29

    Who to compare to?

    Quote Originally posted by steel
    NYC is on another urban planet from other American cities. It is really not a good example for comparison.
    That sounds like a cop-out to me. It's the best environment for pedestrians in this country, and yet you're going to hand-wave it away as something we shouldn't try to emulate (albeit at a smaller scale)?

    I could just as easily say that trying to emulate the old small-town 2-lane 2-way street town-square pattern (which is what, effectively, people are trying to do) is really not a good example for comparison once your downtown grows beyond a few blocks.

  5. #30
    Quote Originally posted by doinky
    That sounds like a cop-out to me. It's the best environment for pedestrians in this country, and yet you're going to hand-wave it away as something we shouldn't try to emulate (albeit at a smaller scale)?

    I could just as easily say that trying to emulate the old small-town 2-lane 2-way street town-square pattern (which is what, effectively, people are trying to do) is really not a good example for comparison once your downtown grows beyond a few blocks.
    First of all I don't think that one way streets cause more pedestrian traffic second comparing NYC to places like Buffalo Cleveland and most other US cities is like comparing the earth to the moon. Sure they are both spheres floating around in space but after that the comparisons pretty much end.

    The dynamic urban forces in NYC are just too different to make the comparison.

    In general 2 way streets are better for pedestrians because they slow traffic.

    In some cases 2 way streets are impractical. In NYC traffic would not move without the one way streets.

    In Buffalo's Allentown neighborhood (and similarly in many other cities) one way residential streets are essential because the streets are so narrow. Without the one way streets there would not be enough space for street parking. Many of the houses on these streets do not have driveways so the street parking can not be eliminated.

    The problem comes in when traffic engineers get control. Their entire education is based on makeing traffic flow as fast as possible. As far as they are concerned there are no other factors involved. The society and life of the city are not a concern.

  6. #31
    Quote Originally posted by steel
    In general 2 way streets are better for pedestrians because they slow traffic.
    I have not seen any reliable evidence that:

    1. Two-way streets "slow traffic", absent other variables. Most of the projects I've seen which purport to show this actually included a bunch of other treatments such as narrowng the street, adding on-street parking, etc.

    2. "fast traffic" is the main reason why pedestrians don't like walking on a given street. I'd argue that if the traffic is well-controlled and not going 55, other issues such as the behavior of TURNING VEHICLES has a much greater effect than, for instance, lowering average vehicle speed from 30 to 20.

    The problem with all of this is still the fundamental fact that on an intersection of two one-way streets, a pedestrian can ALWAYS find a way to cross that doesn't involve a conflict with turning vehicles. And TURNING VEHICLES ARE THE PROBLEM, at least when dealing with law-abiding pedestrians.

    Also, converting a highly-used one-way street to two-way brings additional mid-block conflicts (from the other direction of vehicle travel, i.e., drivers who must turn across oncoming traffic in order to enter the driveway).

  7. #32
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    The City of Kalamazoo is looking at this, and they thing that it will reduce traffic speeds, make access easier, and encourage pedestrian traffic. (link to plan)
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  8. #33
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    I really agree with Cardinal on the economic problems that one ways generate. Boiker, Gedunker, and GISgal all have great comments as well. I am no fan of one way streets. Milwaukee recetnly converted one-ways back to two-ways in the MArquette University area, and it has been wonderful. The City had calculated that the cost of resignalizing everything was less than the economic boom it would generate, so they went for it. The biggest issue was educating the public. I recall there were a number of accidents immediately asfter the conversion, despite alot of orange flagged signs, cones, barrells, etc.

  9. #34
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Couple of points...

    On the 'New Yawk' comparison. The cars there already drive slowly so one-way is ok....

    I agree with the "small and narrow, one way, big and wide, two ways" thing, boradly, as logn as thrre are short blocks in the one-ways, otherwise you are multiplying the traffic. In residentail roads, usually the flow is lwo enough to allow for 'yield' roads.

    I can think of at least one example near where I work of a covesion from a one-way ssytem to two-way traffic and it is, despite some other asinine aspects they also introduced, effective.

    I do take the point that one-way traffic si easier to cross, as logn as they are not speeding. A raised median is one potential help in crossing two-way streets (and in the US you have plenty of room for it).

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