Downtown one-ways to become two-ways

Published: Jan. 16, 2019 at 6:06 PM EST
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For more than a decade, some downtown roads have been one-way streets.

Soon, they'll cater to traffic going both ways.

The streets that will be switching include Capitol and Allegan, which lie in the heart of downtown.

Once those roads go both ways, the city should see an improvement in economy and safety.

"It generates flow, so we think that converting from a one way to a two way will be very helpful," said Mayor Andy Schor.

In less than a year, the streets will have a bit of a different look to them.

The move can only benefit the city and its businesses.

For AnQi Sushi Express, being on a one-way minimizes traffic, and makes them less money.

"It’s at the end of the street, so it's not convenient for everyone," said Owner Joanna Liu.

"When you go two-way it maximizes a business district, and we've got businesses that are operating and thriving," said Schor. "You incent businesses to come in, you incent people to park and walk and utilize those small businesses."

Joanna says that switching from one way to two ways helps local businesses like hers because it helps them be seen by people driving by.

"If it's changed to a two-way street, hopefully they can open up the street so I won't be blocked."

In addition to helping businesses, the city will become safer.

There will be no more wrong turns down a one-way, and speed will be regulated easily.

"They slow down traffic and let people realize that there are businesses there, maybe you want to stop for a slice of pizza and if you're coming at 45 miles per hour you're not thinking about stopping at those businesses or utilizing the downtown," said Schor.

Mayor Schor says that the streets will be part of a pilot program.

The signals will use special technology to work with automated vehicles.

In addition to Allegan and Capitol, the streets the city hopes to convert are Grand, Ottawa, Pine and Walnut.