A city consultant has found converting St. Paul St. and Clinton Ave. downtown to two-way traffic is feasible. The plan, if implemented, would dramatically change how traffic flows in the Inner Loop. Here’s what the consultants said in their report:
Overall, the study shows that two-way conversion is a feasible option for the full length of both the St. Paul Street/South Avenue and North/South Clinton Avenue corridors. This conversion would cause no noticeable detriment to traffic operations and would greatly improve driver way-finding and business access within the study area. The study further shows that pedestrian mobility will improve slightly with the addition of bulbouts and leading pedestrian intervals at some locations, and that onstreet parking could be increased.
The city made the streets one-way in the 1960s. But in the 1980s, many businesses left downtown. There need to “get people in and get people out” has lessened. Mayor Tom Richards doesn’t want to make it so easy to leave.
The study found the current configuration is not hospitable to bikes, pedestrians and businesses. It’s confusing to visitors, who find themselves circling around and around on one-way streets.
The conversion to two-way traffic would require extensive changes to paving, signage and traffic signals. In some cases, the geometry of the street would have to change.
The total cost is estimated to be $1.6 million to $2.6 million, depending on construction options. The city is now moving to the design phase and is seeking proposals.