Friday, July 31, 2009

One Way, Two Way, Yes Way, No Way

Posted By on Fri, Jul 31, 2009 at 1:56 PM

The Ada County Highway District's Terry Little recently presented a little pro/con list to the Boise City Council about one-way vs. two-way streets.

All of a sudden this year, the city and the Downtown Business Association have been talking about converting one-way streets to two-way streets. They seem to think it would be better for business—more eyballs and such.

Little is not so sure. Here is his list, as presented to the Boise City Council:

The advantages of one‐way streets are primarily:

1. Signal coordination is much better in an area such as a downtown where signals by necessity must be spaced closely together (For example, consider State Street vs. Main Street, 1st to 16th).

2. The capacity of one‐way streets is about 20% greater than that of two‐way streets meaning that fewer lanes and fewer through streets are needed if a functional one‐way grid system is established.

3. The congestion and delay for pedestrians, vehicles and transit is reduced as the cycle length can be much shorter with one‐way streets. The extra phases for left turn lanes are unnecessary with one‐way streets.

4. Pedestrian safety is improved as the pedestrian has fewer directions to be concerned about at intersections. Drivers have fewer potential conflicts to handle as well so can give more attention to pedestrian safety.

The advantages of two‐way streets are primarily:

1. Driver familiarity favors two‐way streets.

2. Minimizing “going around the block” favors two‐way streets.

3. Some land uses favor two‐way traffic.

Little did suggest that a few streets are candidates for conversion: 3rd, 4th,5th (not likely), 6th (not likely), 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th.

But the east-west and the big ones are not in the cards, according to ACHD, which owns the streets: Front/Myrtle, Capitol/9th, Main/Idaho, 15th/16th.

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