If it can be done in the heart of the Confederacy, then surely it can be done here – we even have our own Confederate General standing watch over Main Street. Perhaps he’s waiting for two-way streets to reappear? A car-oriented downtown Lexington will never achieve the promise it exudes as we makeover the sidewalks. The cafe and bike culture that we aspire to won’t thrive with continued one-way streets. It’s that simple.
Richmond plans conversion of one-way streets downtown
By MICHAEL MARTZ AND CAROL HAZARD
Richmond is poised to take a much bigger step that promises to transform the neighborhoods around the convention center.A simple left turn may lead Richmond in a new direction for people who drive downtown.
Until this year, drivers who wanted to reach the Richmond Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau couldn’t turn left from East Broad Street to North Third Street, where the visitors bureau is based. They could turn left onto Second Street and circle back to Third, or their next opportunity to turn left was onto North 11th Street beyond City Hall.
“It just didn’t make any sense,” said Byron C. Marshall, Richmond’s chief administrative officer.
Richmond is poised to take a much bigger step that promises to transform the neighborhoods around the convention center, making them easier to navigate by car and much friendlier to people on foot or bicycle. The city is about to hire a consultant to determine the most efficient way to reverse the web of one-way streets that have made downtown Richmond a puzzle for anyone trying to reach a destination that’s in plain sight.
“It’s so hard to get around downtown,” said Charles W. Finley, president of the Historic Jackson Ward Association, which represents the neighborhood that the city hopes will blossom around the convention center.
For Richmond, the conversion of one-way streets is perhaps the most critical step in making a reality of the Downtown Master Plan, adopted almost two years ago with a vision of bringing life and commerce back to streets that had become impersonal thoroughfares.
“It’s the blood supply of the city,” said Rachel O. Flynn, city director of planning and development review. “If you block off the arteries, you kill it.”
Marshall said the process of reversing the one-way streets will be much more complicated and expensive than allowing a left turn from Broad Street, primarily because it would require extensive changes to street traffic signals.
“I think we’ll ease into it and get it done,” he said.