Sunday, August 24, 2014

In Lowell, Massachusetts: "Watch those signs and look both ways!"

Dubuque, too.

City officials have said the traffic pattern switch will make downtown streets easier to navigate and safer for pedestrians, particularly in the developing Millwork District.

We just spent two nights in Dubuque in early August, and had no idea the change was afoot.

It's always worth recalling that as Develop New Albany drags its feet on the two-way issue, terrified not so much of endangering its non-profit tax status as offending the likes of Bob "Antediluvian Non-Urban" Caesar, DNA's parent organization celebrates its 12th year of advocating what DNA is too timid to grasp.

Many factors combine to make main street economically successful. One important, but often overlooked, aspect is the traffic pattern. One-way streets are efficient but they are not customer friendly for people coming downtown to shop two or three times a month. For these infrequent visitors, the downtown circulation system needs to be as easy to use and as easy to understand as possible.

Following is the example of Lowell, Massachusetts. To be fair, not everyone favors the change, these generally being the sorts for whom any alteration of routine is pretext for wailing.

Watch those signs and look both ways! Four downtown Lowell streets open to traffic in two directions, by Lyle Moran (Lowell Sun)

LOWELL -- When Leon Kay of Dracut heads to downtown Lowell to visit Brew'd Awakening Coffeehaus, he typically takes a right off of Bridge Street onto Merrimack Street and then loops around on one-way streets to Market Street.

But on Saturday morning, Kay was able to take a quick left off of Merrimack onto Central Street and then turn right onto Market to get to his destination because of the two-way traffic that went into effect yesterday.

"It made it a lot easier for me to get here," said Kay, 28. "I think it makes a lot of sense."

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