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Old 07-29-2014, 09:24 AM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
2,975 posts, read 4,078,755 times
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I often hear urban planners denounce one-way roads. But last night I realized how much easier and more comfortable it can be to cross a 4-lane urban boulevard at a one-way cross street. No traffic impatiently trying to "squeeze" in between us pedestrians while turning left! Having to watch out for either right-turning OR left-turning traffic seems much, much easier then looking out for BOTH simultaneously! (Of course, the drivers should be waiting at the line for people to cross before initiating the turn, but we all know how often this happens...)

Also, where I live there is a grid network of these side streets, most of which are two lanes, two directions, with residential street parking on both sides. These roads are almost never used to capacity. What if they were all converted to one-way with traffic calming and protected two-way bike paths in the recovered excess road space? So do the following:

parking|traffic|traffic|parking --> bikes|parking|traffic|parking

No loss of residential parking, and there is still plenty enough road space to accommodate all the drivers, the narrower space for traffic would seem to do traffic calming, and no more 3-point turn maneuverings to grab that one empty parking spot on the other side of the road.

Thoughts? Is this being done successfully (or unsuccessfully) anywhere you know of?
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Old 07-29-2014, 01:48 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,165 posts, read 29,655,359 times
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It depends on the lane width. Wide lanes on one way roads encourage cars to speed because it feels like a freeway. Narrow lanes with bike lanes and parking on both sides would slow the traffic.
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Old 07-29-2014, 04:35 PM
 
Location: The City
22,331 posts, read 32,148,414 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
It depends on the lane width. Wide lanes on one way roads encourage cars to speed because it feels like a freeway. Narrow lanes with bike lanes and parking on both sides would slow the traffic.
agree totally - my fair city has great examples of both. Many one lane (cars parked on either side) move slow and share with biker and pedestrians alike. A one way like JFK is neihter pedestrian or bike friendly and lends itself to much faster speeds
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Old 07-29-2014, 06:10 PM
 
409 posts, read 388,829 times
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One-way streets have drastically fewer conflict points when compared to two-way streets. Reducing the number of conflict points at an intersection should lower the intersection's accident rate.




If pedestrian safety is a concern for city planners, the focus should be on calming one-way streets as opposed to converting them to two-way. Here is a great link detailing case studies of one-way street calming measures in NYC & Chicago:

Downtown 1-Way Street | NACTO
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:30 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
2,610 posts, read 3,760,401 times
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One way streets eliminate conflicts but can lead to faster traffic speeds too, so I'm have a hard time decide which is better for pedestrians. Depends how it gets implemented I guess.

Regarding converting 1 lane each direction to 1 lane one way + bike lanes... If the bike lanes don't get much use, it might make the drivers feel more comfortable going faster, so I don't know how effective it will be for traffic calming.
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Old 07-29-2014, 11:55 PM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
2,958 posts, read 3,817,736 times
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I think with proper planning, one-way streets are superior to two-way. The only issue is that most US cities use one-way streets because the streets were designed pre-automobile and therefore are too narrow for proper function (i.e. too narrow for one lane of parking, a dedicated bike lane, etc.)
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Old 07-30-2014, 01:55 AM
 
409 posts, read 388,829 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memph View Post
One way streets eliminate conflicts but can lead to faster traffic speeds too, so I'm have a hard time decide which is better for pedestrians.
One-way streets can lead to slower traffic speeds, a fact that is overlooked by two-way street proponents. For example, the one-way streets of downtown Portland are timed for 12 mph. The city would lose the ability to time the streets for 12 mph if they were converted to two-way flow (due to the geometry of the city blocks). After conversion, traffic speeds would likely double since the traffic lights could no longer be used to help regulate the speed of traffic.

Also, consider the empirical evidence. When Portland initially converted their downtown two-way streets to one-way streets in the 1940ís, the city saw a dramatic drop in accidents. After conversion, total accidents decreased from 6,127 to 3,361 [-45.1%] and pedestrian accidents decreased from 237 to 126 [-46.8%] (Fowler, One-Way Grid System of Portland Oregon, 1953).

The operating speed of drivers and the number of conflict points are two major factors to consider when discussing pedestrian safety. Portland was able to minimize both after converting the downtown streets to one-way flow (and based on the empirical evidence it was an overwhelming success).

Dashcam video of 6th Avenue driver:


Downtown Portland model:
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