Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Re-Engineering Downtown

There was a big article in yesterday's paper about taking out a walking mall in downtown Rockford and getting rid of the one-way streets into and out of downtown. The whole thing just seems like a joke. "Downtown is messed up period, with (too many) one-ways and construction." It is obvious that the people who are discussing this have NEVER paid attention to any other city they have visited. Too many one-ways?!? There's one going north, one going south, one going east, and one going west. That is the most effective way to move large volumes of traffic into and out of a downtown area without putting in a highway! Simply put, you get two, three, or even four lanes of traffic all going in the same direction and it vastly improves the ability to move the traffic. How fast do people think traffic will move after On the Waterfront, when tens of thousands of people are leaving the downtown area at the same time on a one or two lane street? I can promise you that traffic won't move very quickly. Hey, maybe if they built a hotel downtown, people snarled in the traffic will have someplace to stay!

They put a map in the paper that showed a plan to convert all of the one-ways into two-way streets, including the section of Main Street that is currently the pedestrian mall. As soon as my wife saw it she asked, "If they're going to do that (meaning get rid of the pedestrian mall), why don't they make that one-way so traffic can move better?" The obvious is just screaming at people, but there are apparently so many provential folks in this city who can't seem to figure out how to drive on one-way streets, that the obvious will be trashed in favor of the laborious. They have a hard enough time selling people on the benefits of downtown as it is, now they just want to snarl traffic and make it a pain to get around. Yeah, that's a good idea.