Thursday, June 12, 2014

Revitalization is a two-way street: A rigorous study of traffic calming impacts.

We've been saying it for the entire history of this blog. Perhaps the city of New Albany (read: Democratic Party grandees) finally will listen and DO SOMETHING.

Two-Way Streets Can Fix Declining Downtown Neighborhoods, by John Gilderbloom (Planetizen)

Here is one simple and affordable strategy to renew our downtown neighborhoods: immediately convert multi-lane one-way streets back to two-way traffic. Such conversions reduce car speeds and encourage greater pedestrian and bike mode-share. As a response of calmer residential streets, neighborhoods become more livable, more prosperous, and safer.

While 100 cities have rushed to convert multi-lane one-way streets, few researchers have performed rigorous studies of traffic calming impacts. Under my supervision, University of Louisville planning graduate students and faculty (Winston Mitchell, Nick York, Zaria Murrell, Brad Cronin, Wesley Meares, Billy Riggs, and Samantha Alexis Smith) produced a rigorous study of just two streets in Louisville (Brook and First streets) that were converted nearly three years ago from, in effect, multi-lane freeways to slow and sane streets, available to all users. We examined the before and after conditions of the conversion of Brook and First and compared the newly converted two-ways with the unconverted multi-lane one-ways (Second and Third) next to them. We also explored another street that was part one-way and two-way.

 The results were stunning. Two-way conversion improves the livability of a neighborhood by significantly reducing crime and collisions and by increasing property values, business revenue, taxes, and bike and pedestrian traffic. Outside consultants, with price tags of millions of dollars, never predicted this in places like Oslo, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Atlanta.

And this.

By every measurable aspect, First and Brook streets are better places since they were converted to two-way traffic supplemented by smartly designed bike lanes. While there is no magical, quick-fix when it comes to turning around neighborhoods, converting multi-lane one-way streets to two-way streets is a smart and affordable policy. Neighborhoods will also blossom if one-way conversions are coupled with other proven infrastructure improvements, such as street trees, bike lanes, community gardens, public art, and adaptive reuse of abandoned properties.

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