Thursday, August 13, 2009

This Monday: Caldwell goes two-way

More back to the future: Several uptown streets are being converted from one-way to two-way.

This is, by and large, a good thing. One-way streets encourage driving fast, which is fine for highways but inside cities is A) More dangerous for pedestrians, B) More dangerous for drivers and C) Makes city streets feel like roads instead of city streets.

Below is a snippet from last week's memo to City Council, saying that Caldwell Street, from Fourth Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (formerly Second Street) switches to two-way traffic by noon Monday.

Brevard Street is due for similar treatment, from Stonewall to Trade streets. Update: the section of Brevard from Stonewall to MLK Boulevard will convert in May 2010, and the segment from MLK to Trade will switch in 2011 – some right-of-way issues will delay that segment, says CDOT Chief Danny Pleasant.

Here's the memo:

Beginning Monday, August 17, traffic patterns will change on South Caldwell Street between Fourth Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Starting at 9:00 a.m., crews will begin changing Caldwell Street from a one-way street to a two-way street. The conversion is expected to be complete by noon.
This conversion to two-way traffic is part of the Center City Transportation Plan adopted by the City Council in 2006, and has been implemented as part of the interchange and street modifications associated with the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Later phases will also convert Brevard Street between Stonewall and Trade to two-way traffic. The changes will improve traffic circulation in the area and improve accessibility and safety for pedestrians.


Anonymous said...

Fix teh headline. It says:
"Next week, Caldwell St. goes 2-day uptown"

Anonymous said...

I agree that for Charlotte, two-way streets will work better. However, NYC (the most urban city in the country and one of the most urban in the world), has one way streets and it is still very pedestrian friendly. It's possible to have one way streets and a pedestrian friendy atmosphere. It's more about wide sidewalks and street-level retail.

Anonymous said...

New York City pedestrian friendly? I guess you have never been there. 200 Pedestrian Fatalities a year is not "Pedestrian Friendly." Did you not read the story about the guy on his bicycle that got drug for miles after a car hit him a couple of months ago?

Anonymous said...

As a transportation planner, I think that the jury is still out on whether or not two-way streets are more pedestrian friendly or conducive to retail development. Have you seen how wide the new intersection of Caldwell and Stonewall streets is? I don't for one minute think that it is easier for pedestrians, cyclists or motorists to maneuver than the former configuration. By the same token, it seems as though these things are cyclical. Fifty years ago, the streets were all two-way, then they were converted to one-way and now back to two-way. Fifty years from now, the prevailing sentiment will likely change again.

Anonymous said...

6:43: NYC's 200 deaths a year compared to its 8 million pedestrians a day is a pretty good ratio.

I disagree that two-way streets are more pedestrian friendly...the more turns cars are making, the more directions they can come in, the more accidents will happen.

Anonymous said...

Two-way streets more pedestrian friendly? How do you figure that? Traffic coming from two directions instead of only one. Have to look both ways before crossing. More opportunities for head on collisions, too.


Anonymous said...

In order to be pedestrian friendly you need sidewalks that are wide enough for a person or 2 or 3 to walk down. Have you ever tried walking on East 7th between 7th Street Station and North Tryon Street? Try it in the rain carrying an open umbrella, there are street signs in the way and you have to walk in the street.

East 8th and 9th Streets are just as bad.

Anonymous said...

Shorter blocks and fewer lanes can make one-way streets work. Just look at Portland.

It can be nice to look only one way to cross a street, but it helps if there aren't so many lanes of traffic speeding down a long block.

Anonymous said...


Why do you engage in name-calling (i.e. your "blowhards" comment in the last article), yet you delete posts that are critical of you?

grvsmth said...

Greetings from New York! Many of us want our one-way streets turned back to two-way just like you.

It's the sidewalks that make our city as pedestrian-friendly as it is. You should try it!

Stuart said...

Hello from Richmond, VA. This is a contentious issue here also, as our newly adopted Master Plan calls for returning many 1-ways to 2-way operation. As a cyclist I support this idea because it will tame vehicle speeds in downtown. I think by slowing the cars the streets will have a much safer "feel" for new cyclists and encourage more trips by bicycle and fewer by car. I also think reverting to 2-way operation would be good for local businesses who will see increased traffic as their blocks become more accessible due to eased traffic circulation.

BruceMcF said...

When I clicked into this piece, I was thinking of the other kind of conversion ... the conversion of one way lanes that are too narrow for two lanes of traffic into two way bike with shared use general vehicle lane one way and a dedicated bike lane the "other way".

But for the multi-lane one way streets, this is good too.

Anonymous said...

We probably won't have cars in 50 years so it won't matter