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Are Midtown's One-Way Streets In Need Of Change?

Questioning whether any of Midtown’s one-way streets should be converted to two-way

There was an interesting comment posted in Tuesday’s story about high-rise construction projects in Midtown. In it, Patch user Lisa Bankoff wrote:

With all of the construction in the Midtown area causing the restricted use of 10th and the closure of 12th streets westbound, it would help traffic flow and congestion on 14th and 10th if 13th were temporarily changed to one-way westbound rather than remaining one-way eastbound. This would allow northbound traffic to have an additional way to move westerly without using either 10th or 14th to get to I-75 north. I believe that it would also lessen congestion on westbound 10th and 14th and also on W. Peachtree north of 8th up to 17th.

What do you think of this idea?

In reading Bankoff’s comment, it reminded me that at this month’s Midtown Development Committee meeting, Penelope Cheroff, chair of Neighborhood Planning Unit E, spoke briefly of the idea of converting some of Midtown’s one-way streets to two-way streets.

The City of Atlanta for some years has been looking at converting one-way streets as part of the Connect Atlanta plan. West Peachtree and Spring streets are in mind for the change. But since the state owns portions of those streets, that project would take much longer to realize than lane changes on say Juniper Street or Piedmont Avenue.

We’ll look into this further, of course. But just wondering, if you could convert some of Midtown’s one-way streets to two-way, which would they be? Or is it all perfectly fine as it is?

Ed May 23, 2012 at 11:07 PM
If you think about the importance of traffic exiting Midtown (northbound) by following the left most lanes of West Peachtree directly onto the Buford Connector flyway it would be pretty much impossible to make West Peachtree St. two-way, at least at the northern end of it.
Jamie May 23, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Leave it the way it is. Juniper is great for going south and West Peachtree is great for going north. Making them two way would make it much slower. Spring as a southbound is often backed up in the evenings. Adding two way traffic would make it worse.
Marc Acampora May 23, 2012 at 11:29 PM
I'm going to give Ms. Bankoff's suggestion some further thought. I was the traffic engineer who studied Piedmont and Juniper becoming two-way, about 15 years ago.  Not sure if any engineering has been updated or if urban planners are now just giving their opinions.  I concluded at the time that they should remain two, one-way streets.  My opinion now, having lived half a block off Piedmont for eight years, remains unchanged.  Both streets should be one-way, with two travel lanes, a bike lane, and on-street parking.  One ways can be timed to optimize flow while better controlling speed, say at 25 mph.  Pedestrians only have one direction of traffic to contend with (they should still look both ways).  If they change to two-way, they will each need two lanes per direction to have sufficient capacity, which kills the parking and bike lanes.  Most great cities have extensive one-way pairs and I see no evidence that two-ways would be better for retail or residents.
KamdenATL May 24, 2012 at 02:33 AM
I think 6th Street between Peachtree & Piedmont should allow for 2-way traffic... Same thing with 8th Street between Spring & Peachtree.
KamdenATL May 24, 2012 at 02:36 AM
Sorry, I meant 8th between W Peachtree & Peachtree... not Spring.
rick May 24, 2012 at 01:00 PM
sounds like a great plan to get them home faster but meaningless for the general public, focus on timing the lights better & improve the flow for everyone
Joyce Norman May 24, 2012 at 01:26 PM
I live on 13th St - leave it alone - spend the million dollar grant and get the lights synchronized -have the APD more alert to traffic tie ups and respond accordingly.
Patch May 24, 2012 at 04:31 PM
i agree to leave it as it is.. there is more important issues to spend money on then this experiment
Teyeger May 25, 2012 at 04:01 AM
"Making them two way would make it much slower. " This is exactly the point. Slower traffic = more walkability. Nobody wants to walk along a 4-lane, high speed, one way street.
Dorothy Leber May 31, 2012 at 02:43 PM
I say make all of the streets in midtown two-way. Here's a good overview of why I don't like one-way streets: http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/04/06/primeggias-one-way-safety-claims-are-based-on-1970s-studies/
Marc Acampora May 31, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Dorothy, it is true, all other factors being equal, that one ways tend to encourage higher speeds than two ways. However, in this context, and done properly, I don't believe that will be the case. On-street parking and bike lanes on all one ways will calm speeds. Signal timing can be much better coordinated on a one way and be timed to achieve a desired speed, say 25 mph. Vehicles traveling much faster (or slower) will be forced to stop frequently. Drivers tend to learn the timing pattern to optimize their flow, and, in the process, they will tend to progress at the desired speed. The other key point is that they already are one way, do we are not staring from scratch. Converting to two way requires changes to signals, signage, striping, etc. This money can be better spent making what we have work optimally.

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