Comment 53236

By PseudonymousCoward (registered) | Posted December 17, 2010 at 10:52:14

There are only two reasons to have one-way streets: 1) Wide multiple-lane thoroughfares that funnel high volumes of automobile traffic across town quickly. 2) Narrow medieval streets with centuries-old building stock pressing in on either side that physically can't accommodate multiple lanes of traffic side-by-side and are only used for local traffic.

The pedestrian friendly cities you mention fall squarely into the latter category, whereas the one-way streets Jillian Stephen and the traffic engineers are trying to preserve fall squarely into the former. The only reason to maintain those streets one-way is to maintain their current role as traffic funnels. But as long as we maintain them as traffic funnels, it is impossible for them to function as pedestrian friendly places and urban destinations. A corollary: if we really are committed to making these streets pedestrian friendly instead of traffic funnels, there is no longer any point to their remaining one-way.

Given the choice between keeping them as one-way (out of sheer spite?) but adding concessions to pedestrian friendliness (curbside parking, wide sidewalks, bumpouts at crossings) and making them two-way, there's no conest. Any concessions that are significant enough to make the street pedestrian friendly will be more detrimental to overall traffic flows than two-way conversion and more expensive than two-way conversion. But if the concessions are not significant enough to make the street pedestrian friendly, then they amount to tokenism we cannot afford.

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