Lansing moving forward with downtown two-way street conversion

Downtown streets converting to two-way
Published: Jul. 5, 2021 at 8:14 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Drivers will notice a new traffic pattern around the Capitol by the end of the year. The city of Lansing is planning on changing the one-way streets around the complex to two-way streets this fall. The city’s been planning this for awhile, and stoplights have are already hung.

People who live downtown told News 10 they can’t wait for the lights to be turned on.

“I’ve been looking forward to it the entire time we’ve lived here,” said Kevin Ellis, who supports two-way conversion.

Ellis has lived in the Genesee neighborhood just north of the Capitol complex for 30 years. He remembered when Shiawassee, Ionia and Washtenaw streets were converted to two-way streets in 1999.

Now Pine, Walnut, Capitol, Grand, Allegan and Ottawa are being switched too.

“I know when I visited the city with a lot of one-way streets, it’s easy to get turned around. It’s not inviting to visitors,” said Ellis.

The city has been working on a plan to convert six one-way streets for 20 years. Right now plans are for streets to get one lane of traffic each direction with a center turn lane, bus pull outs, bike lanes and parking.

The goal is to provide a direct route, primarily for visitors, and improve access to neighborhoods and businesses.

That’s why Randy Dykhuis is on board with the change.

“I think it will help the neighborhoods around here. It will slow down traffic and make it more convenient getting in and out of the neighborhood,” said Dykhuis.

But not everyone agrees. Many people told News 10 off camera they think this will cause more crashes.

Elizabeth Buckmaster posted on the WILX Facebook page “It’s going to mess with traffic flow and make it riskier for pedestrians.”

Dykhuis said people will adapt to the new flow.

“I think it’s going to take some time for people to get used to it. We’ve all are used to looking one way to see if traffic is coming,” said Dykhuis.

And Ellis thinks in the end it will actually be safer.

“You have to relearn it, but you have two options instead of one now. So you’re not going to end up finding yourself on a one way and having to go the opposite direction,” said Ellis.

The actual conversion of the north - south streets will happen this fall and take place over several weekends. A timeline for Ottawa and Allegan hasn’t been set because the city needs the state to sign off those conversions.

The state is giving Lansing $3.3 million dollars to pay for the switch.

Lansing is hosting two open house workshops for people to learn more about the project. They are July 15 and August 12 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the City Hall lobby.

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