One Way Street Sign. Photo courtesy of nicejenny83 on Flickr.One Way Street Sign. Photo courtesy of nicejenny83 on Flickr.

Are days numbered for one-way streets?

Culture, Transportation 1 Comment 34

While for years many people have favored one way streets as a quick way to get in and out of town, they have come under recent fire as being ineffective and confusing, but new evidence shows that like roundabouts, their negative perceptions fade once implimented.

A new look on one-way streets from the National Post takes a look at St. Cathrine’s Ontario, just west of Niagra Falls, and how turning from one way streets to two way streets is a relatively easy an inexpensive way to improve your cities. They cite that one way cities are in the grand scheme of things, new ways to travel and don’t always make sense. It also notes that the Roman and Inca empires had vaste trade routes all through their empires – none of which were one way.

After implementation, St. Cathrine’s Mayor Brian McMullan,says that roughly 90% of people support the decision even through they were skeptical to begin with. But the 131,000 member city isn’t alone: Lexington, KY and Perth, Australia are other places that have been on a mission to bring back two-lane streets anywhere possible.

Advantages include:

  • More pedestrian friendly traffic. Old logic believed that one way streets were safer since pedestrians only needed to look one way, however slower traffic is safer than only having a single direction to look.
  • Slower traffic means people are noticing local businesses that they would have driven by without blinking an eye at in the past.
  • Two lane traffic makes more sense for cyclists, who should be following the way the roads move.
  • Fighting social problems, in Louisville the city noticed that constantly, the problem streets were one-way streets.
  • Helps to prevent blight: Cincinnati noticed that 40% of Businesses closed on Vine St. after it was converted to a one way.

It won’t work everywhere, but it’s something that many need to consider, especially with more people looking for opportunities to move back into cities. If we can do something so simple and inexpensive to help prevent blight and make neighborhoods safer, now is the time to give one way streets another look.

 

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John Cruz

Editor-In-Chief at The Urbanist Dispatch
John Cruz, MUP, is an urbanist, photographer, and city planner. Originally from Detroit, he now lives in Montreal.
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John Cruz

John Cruz, MUP, is an urbanist, photographer, and city planner. Originally from Detroit, he now lives in Montreal.

  • nico

    The first paragraph is made of a run-on sentence, and is pretty confusing. The way it is written, you are stating that the negative perceptions of one-way streets fade over time. But that doesn’t seem to go with the rest of the article.

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