Dave Reid

Carmageddon!

By - Sep 19th, 2011 11:11 am
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Two-way Well St.

Two-way Wells St.

It has been more than a week since Wells Street was converted to two-ways, and it has indeed been Carmaggedon.  Drivers have been confused by the unusual street configuration.  Two-ways, really?  The fear generated by being able to turn right and go East on to Wells St. has caused mass hysteria causing more than a few people to quickly park in available parking spots.  In fact just the other day there was a three-car-and-one-bicycle backup getting around a FedEx truck.  And now there are more cars than one can count driving close to the speed limit.  Yes, it has been Carmageddon!

Well no, much like the overhyped L.A. Carmageddon.  Similar to when the 405 expressway was closed temporarily, or when the Park East Freeway spur was removed, the conversion of Wells St. to two-way traffic has actually not brought about mass confusion, traffic jams, or a significant increase in congestion.  In fact it appears drivers are quickly becoming accustomed to the new configuration.  Drivers are now turning right onto Wells St. instead of driving around the block to get to a parking spot, driving closer to the speed limit down Wells St., and are trying new routes to get to their destination.

As this two-way street conversion has once again not brought Carmageddon to the streets of Milwaukee, it is clear the continued effort to rebuild the two-way street network is on the right path in downtown Milwaukee, but is far from complete.  The incomplete conversion of State St. needs to be rectified in the future, Broadway is just one block short of better connecting the Historic Third Ward with downtown Milwaukee, and Jackson St. still becomes a race track after crossing Wells St.  These three are just some of the segments left to convert to two-way traffic in downtown Milwaukee, but if recent history tells us anything, it is that Carmageddon won’t be around the next corner.

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6 thoughts on “Carmageddon!”

  1. Devin says:

    “and are trying new routes to get to their destination.”

    I would not take this as an acceptable positive to come out of the situation. I, like many others I know, now avoid Wells and take a different route to get to the Eastside because it is no longer the fastest way across downtown. I don’t think a goal should be to reduce the number of people who use a street by forcing them onto other streets, especially when that street served as an efficient way for vehicular traffic to get across downtown. You can’t really make the argument that it isn’t as bad as some people were expecting when the lack of congestion isn’t attributed to efficient redesign but people avoiding the street because of that redesign.

  2. Max says:

    We may have dodged it this time, but be warned! Carmageddon will come to MKE if those hippies get their lane on the Hoan!!! The southshore will be gridlocked and the bridge will be a parking lot!!!! 🙂

  3. Dave Reid says:

    @Devin First congrats on getting thru to UM today… we’re experiencing some internet congestion! That said opening up new routes is certainly a positive. For example, when State St. opened no longer did I need to drive (when I do drive) out of my way to get home. In fact making it two-ways has added, not reduce routes, and providing multiple routes to a destination should certainly be a desirable outcome of a transportation system.

  4. Dave Reid says:

    @Max Is the southshore gridlocked today?

  5. Mike says:

    As a resident who lives off of this street, I appreciate that Wells has been converted into a street and is no longer an expressway.

    That anyone thinks Milwaukee has any real traffic at all blows my mind. They should convert the rest of the one way speedways next, as has been suggested.

  6. Dave Reid says:

    @Mike Yup! I either walk or bike on or across Wells St. just about everyday and it is already much better.

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