One-Way or Two-Way?

Via Roadguy comes this interesting and nuanced discussion of a planned conversion in Minneapolis from one-way to two-way streets, on what seems like former residential boulevards (Park and Portland) that were turned into de facto highways in the incipient motor age.

I could have written an entire chapter in Traffic about the one-way/two-way debates (like LCD and plasma, they each have their particular attributes), but of more immediate concern to me here is the idea that every conversion I’ve heard of recently is from one-way to two-way. I wonder if the tide of planning orthodoxy has fully shifted, or are there any big two-way to one-way conversions going on as I write?

This entry was posted on Thursday, August 6th, 2009 at 10:21 am and is filed under Roads, Traffic Engineering. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

8 Responses to “One-Way or Two-Way?”

  1. Brent Says:

    Nothing has come of the discussions so far, but in Los Angeles there is a on-again-off-again proposal to turn Pico and Olympic Boulevards into one-way streets. These streets both have six total lanes (two of which are used for parking in off hours), which would make them into the de facto freeways you mention.

  2. Michaelk42 Says:

    We’re getting the one-to-two-way thing too.

  3. Scott Says:

    I haven’t heard anything official yet, but I know a lot of people would like to see State and High Streets (two-lane streets through the heart of the city) here in Portland, ME converted back from one-way to two-way.,-70.262439&spn=0.007483,0.013776&z=16

  4. Arnav Shah Says:

    Four years ago, Stony Brook University converted a few relatively narrow two way streets to one way streets. They did this to expand campus bus service to the newly built dorms further down those roads (Roosevelt Drive and West Drive). On more than a few occasions, I’ve seen students drive the wrong way on certain portions to avoid circling around.

  5. John Says:

    Two-ways are inherently slower.

  6. Walker Evans Says:

    We’ve had several one-way streets in Downtown Columbus recently converted back to two-way. Several were only short one or two block conversions, but the most successful project was the revamping of Gay Street, that included not only the two-way traffic alignment, but also streetscaping, medians, rain gardens, bike racks, and other types of beautification.

    In the two short years since conversion, Gay Street has added around a dozen new shops and restaurants, several new outdoor patio expansions from existing restaurants, a large new condo development project, and more. There’s been a huge change in the vibrancy on this street, and it’s being looked to as a model for recreating on other similar one way streets around Downtown Columbus.

  7. doug Says:


    and slower is better for everyone, when it’s residential streets.

  8. Lee Says:

    Baltimore wants to make a lot of their two-way streets into one-way.
    They claim that one-way is safer as there are fewer conflicts.
    There are some one-way streets downtown that are 6 lanes wide, plus
    turning and parking, no trees, no median, narrow sidewalks.

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Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

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