In 2015, the City began converting one-way streets to two-way streets to make the downtown district easier to navigate, enhance opportunities for pedestrians and cyclists, and support the district’s ongoing economic development. Two-way streets have also been shown to reduce travel speeds and create an environment that is pedestrian friendly.
Why Two-Way Streets?
Two-way street conversions are being considered on many existing one-way streets for several reasons:
Livability / Vibrancy: Two-way streets create an urban environment with slower traffic speeds. They also support biking opportunities, makes it easier to access public gathering spaces, and increases business access and visibility. For those visiting downtown districts for events or entertainment, two-way streets are intuitive and easier to navigate.
Safety: One-way streets – especially if they have multiple travel lanes – often encourage higher traffic speeds due to motorists’ ability to pass a slower vehicle, creating unsafe conditions for residential or downtown environments.
- Efficiency: One-way streets are outdated, and often do not support today’s traffic volumes. Built decades ago before the construction of the interstate, one-way streets were often used to move high volumes of commuter traffic. Today, a large volume of traffic has been pulled off these streets and onto I-380, enabling residential or downtown streets to better serve local destinations.
- Convenience: Two-way streets are easier to navigate, and cut down on the time it takes to get to your destination. Traffic no longer has to make “loops” around one-way streets, but can take the shortest, more direct route to a home or business.
Features of Downtown Conversions
Pedestrian Safety | Painted Islands
- Reduces walking distance for pedestrians.
- Increases visibility for those trying to cross the street.
Protected Bike Lanes on 3rd Avenue
- 3rd Avenue is a primary bicycle route.
- Protected bike lanes separate cyclists from moving vehicles
- They create a more comfortable experience for those riding bikes, and decrease incidents of “dooring.”
- Signals in the downtown area that have been removed do not meet traffic warrants, which means traffic could be accommodated comfortably by stop signs.
- Stop signs also help eliminate unnecessary idling and the yielding that comes with waiting for oncoming traffic.
Completed in 2015
- 2nd Avenue, from 6th Street SW to 1st Street SE
- 3rd Avenue, from 6th St SW to 3rd St SE
- 4th Ave SE, from 5th St SE to 19th St SE
- 8th Street SE, from 4th Ave SE to 12th Ave SE
Completed in 2016
- 7th Street SE, from 4th Avenue to 12th Avenue
Completed in 2017
- 2nd Avenue SE, from 13th Street and 19th Street
- 3rd Avenue SW, from 6th Street SW to 5th Avenue SW
- 5th Avenue SE, from 5th Street to 19th Street SE
Completed in 2018
- 2nd Avenue SE, from 1st Street SE to 8th Street SE
- 4th Avenue SE, from 3rd Street to 5th Street
- 5th Avenue SE, from 3rd Street to 5th Street
- Oakland Road NE, from H Avenue to 32nd Street NE
Completed in 2019
- 3rd Avenue SE, from 3rd Street to 8th Street
- 3rd Avenue SE, from 12th Street to 19th Street
Railroad Crossings & Quiet Zones
Continued collaboration with Union Pacific Railroad means that safety improvements will take place this year at the railroad crossing on 3rd Avenue, including the construction of new arms, gates, and pedestrian bump-outs. These are necessary to support two-way traffic and will also help secure a Quiet Zone.
Learn more: Quiet Zones