Friday, September 7

Downtown One Way Streets and Avenues

Lately, there has been a fair amount of talk about the most logical configuration of the one-way streets and avenues in our Downtown. Local business leaders have complained that the current status of 5th and 6th Street, and 1st and 2nd Ave S, make it difficult for shoppers to park near their businesses. They want those streets reset as two-way roads.

I blogged about this once before, last April, here. Since that time, the problems I brought up about 9th Street have not changed. I think it is not debatable that making 5th and 6th Street two way will increase traffic on 9th.

When this issue came up in the Tribune last week, local businessman Phil Kiser expressed his opinion that he believed 9th Street should be widened to four lanes.

Pardon, what was that? Four lanes? This is his answer to the neighborhoods question about pedestrian safety on a road that must be crossed by elementary school children to get to their schools? Talk about unhelpful ...

The next issue is the Avenues. What would be the affects of resetting these East-West roads to two-way?

While I think that the affect of this change would not be as severe as that of the North-South proposal, I have been approached by the Great Falls Transit District, wondering how they would navigate city buses into the bus depot if these roads are reset. These questions deserve analysis.

Unfortunately, the city planning department doesn't seem to be asking many questions at all. Last week, I read their "analysis" of the proposal to reset the one-way streets and avenues. In a 50 page paper, there was mention of neither repercussions on 9th Street and nor bus issues.

I understand the concerns of downtown businesses. I agree that we need to take any logical step to increase business opportunities in our downtown. However, we have to be very careful before we take action that has negative impacts.

We will be discussing this issue at our Neighborhood Council meeting on Monday evening. Please either come to the meeting or let me know any concerns you would like to see raised.

1 comment:

WolfPack said...

Funny thing Kiser's desire to change the one ways, most of the time I travel these one ways it is to get somewhere easily. Change them and I will find a different route (maybe 9th). This will probably have the net effect of dropping traffic counts in front of Bert & Ernie’s which is the last thing most restaurant owners would want. Many people will soon forget where it is for lack of being reminded.