State Street Will Become Two Way
Remaining portion of one-way street to be converted to two-way traffic for safety, ease of access.
One more one-way street in downtown Milwaukee is set to bite the dust.
The Common Council’s Public Safety & Health Committee unanimously endorsed a proposal from Alderman Robert Bauman to convert the last remaining one-way stretch of State Street, from N. 6th St. to N. Market St., to two-way traffic.
Bauman says he was spurred to propose the conversion after observing the impacts of the Wells Street bridge’s months-long rebuild. The bridge was closed on March 5th, and isn’t expected to open again until November.
This isn’t the first time the city will have modified State Street. A portion of the west-bound street, from N. Market St. to N. Van Buren St., was converted to two-way traffic in 2010. My colleague Dave Reid reported on that conversion and its shortcomings, most notably that it stopped at MGIC‘s parking garage to more easily allow employees to exit.
The closing of W. Juneau Ave. for the Bucks’ current arena construction, coupled with intermittent intersection closures for construction of the streetcar, has already caused periods of downtown gridlock. A more robust grid of two-way streets would help that.
Beyond helping people move around, the conversion would have another benefit. “Two-way streets actually contribute to safety because they do slow traffic down,” Bauman said. Pedestrian safety has become a growing issue in the city, particularly Downtown as two pedestrians have been killed by vehicles in recent weeks.
Committee chair Ald. Robert Donovan added: “Years ago, we had an overabundance of one-way streets. When it was first proposed to go to two-way streets, it was ‘oh my god, this will end the world.’ It hasn’t been that.”
Since 2000, the city has converted all or parts of Broadway, Milwaukee, Wells and State streets to two-way traffic.
The Department of Public Works supports the change, but a cost estimate wasn’t ready yet.
Responding to a question as to whether the change would be temporary at first, Bauman said: “when it’s implemented it would be permanent, but it might not be implemented for awhile.”
The measure is scheduled for full Common Council adoption on May 30th.
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