LANSING, Mich. — The city of Lansing is pursuing a $3 million project to convert six one-way streets back to two-way.
Andy Kilpatrick, Director of Public Service for the city, said the hope is to have two-way traffic on Capitol Avenue, Grand Avenue, Ottawa Street, Allegan Street, Pine Street and Walnut Street for the first time in more than 60 years by the end of the summer.
"So, we’ll be getting community feedback hopefully by the spring" said Kilpatrick. "We’ve basically sent out a mailing recently to all the property owners along these routes, and then we’ll be doing community input either virtually or hopefully we’ll be able to do it in person."
The plan is to convert these streets in pairs over two to three weekends.
Walnut Neighborhood Organization President Dale Schrader owns multiple houses along the streets in question and said he looks forward to their conversion back to two-way.
" I think it's a great thing, that it's kind of potentially slow the car down. That's what we need," Schrader said.
The streets were originally converted to one-way in the 1950’s to allow traffic to enter and leave downtown quickly. Now, with traffic volumes low, that is no longer a priority, Kilpatrick said.
"So, the reason to go back to two-way operation is it’s easier for visitors, shorter trip routes in and out of downtown makes things less confusing…" be said. "It’s easier for pedestrians somewhat to cross…but I think really the compelling reason is it’s better for business for access to properties, it’s more intuitive to be able to get around…and you don’t have to go out of your way to get to a location or go back from that location."
Kilpatrick has a view of downtown from his office, and he has seen multiple instances of cars accidentally turning the wrong way onto a one-way. Schrader has, too.
"I don't know how many times I've encountered a car coming straight at me, you know, head on and and they're looking at me like, what's wrong with you," Schrader said. "…and anything that can slow these cars down i think is a good thing. There's, there's no reason for cars to be racing."
Owner of the Peanut Shop downtown, Tammy Melser, on the other hand, fears that this change would make it harder for her employees to handle deliveries.
"They are going to allow us to unload in the center turn lanes, in the center of the block. This means my employees and myself, will have to cross a driving lane with the freight. I am worried about them getting hit," Melser said. "This is my biggest worry."
To ask questions or weigh in on the matter, go to LansingMI.gov, and search for “One Way to Two Way Street Conversion Project.”
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