Tuesday, December 03, 2013

If it's good for Main Street, then why isn't it good for Elm, Spring and Market?

From top to bottom: Elm, Spring, Market and Main; only Main is a two-way street

We ask so many questions, and get so few answers -- whether in 2004, or going headlong into 2014.

But NA Confidential readers have their own questions and comments, such as this one, which begins with a quote from behind the paywall.

"Traffic calming, new curbs and sidewalks and a grassy median are the major features and objectives of the Main Street project."

Gee, I wish everyone in New Albany could be lucky enough to live on a street so important it needs to have its traffic "calmed" with the remaining Ind. 111 relinquishment funds. I'm glad to know we won't need that money for anything else in the future.

That's interesting, isn't it?

Properties in and around Mansion Row on Main Street already are valued higher than others nearby; of course, much of the reason for higher value is their historic character, but doesn't the street itself have something to do with it? Even when functioning as a state highway, and prior to expensive alterations planned to calm it, Main Street was different from Market, Spring and Elm in a fundamental, crucial way -- actually, different in TWO ways, as in two-way traffic.

Fifty years ago, when the latter three streets were transformed into one-way arterials, didn't it have the effect of removing at least some pass-through traffic from Main?

Didn't this in fact enhance the walkability of Main Street?

Didn't this wholly inadvertent calming actually help to increase property values on Main, and to assist in making the historic buildings marketable -- verily, in helping to preserve them?

There are many historic properties located on the troika of one-way streets, but they're seldom worth as much as the ones on Main, are they?

Even the National Association of Realtors sees walkability as newsworthy.

According to NAR's 2013 Community Preference Survey, 60 percent of respondents favor a neighborhood with a mix of houses and stores and other businesses that are easy to walk to, rather than neighborhoods that require more driving between home, work and recreation.

Meanwhile, a blogger named Mark Turner finds much information to support the viewpoint that one-way arterial streets lower property values.

I did a little bit of Googling tonight on the issue of one-way streets and property values. It seems that many sites say that one-way streets likely decrease property values.

And so, our reader's comments are quite relevant, aren't they?

If it's needed for Main Street, where walkability components already are in place, then why not the other streets nearby?

If the city does not do for Elm, Spring and Market what it proposes to do on Main, how does the city explain to residents located on or near these other three streets why it is city policy to depress their property values owing to the greater good required of those transiting the city's streets to reach the other side?

How does the city explain this?


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