One-Way Streets Disappearing in Montgomery

A van travels down Washington Street in Montgomery. This is the first one-way street slated to become two-way.
A van travels down Washington Street in Montgomery. This is the first one-way street slated to become two-way.

Those of us who've lived here in Montgomery for a long time know our way around town, especially when it comes to navigating the maze of one-way streets downtown.

Now, we'll have to re-learn our way around because virtually all of those one-way corridors will become two-way.

Remember the days of downtown traffic congestion and two way streets? About forty years ago it all changed because folks moved to the suburbs and two way streets became one way to help ease the traffic in and out of town.

City traffic engineer Bubba Bowden says, "The city hired some planners, some urban planners..."

As a result of that study, the planners recommended that streets like Washington Avenue experience an about face.

The change could be good news for downtown businesses.

Chris Conway is another of the city's engineers and says, "With the one way operation, probably half of your block is neglected because you're not getting the traffic facing each of the four corners on a daily basis."

But what may look like a simple conversion, switching one-way traffic to two, won't be an easy task.

Traffic lights have to be hung and timed for traffic going in the opposite direction.

Street resurfacing will also have to take place, "Because if you try to eradicate the markings, it looks terrible," said Bowden. "They've been down so long you can't easily take them up."

To complicate this process even more, the whole street may have to be torn up because when it comes to re-surfacing, if you add a layer of pavement to what's already here, it could be too high for the storm drains and the curbs.

In other words, it will take about six months to a year to finish just  Washington Street and the city has ten more streets to go.

All the downtown streets will become two way except Union and Decatur, which will remain one way.

It could take ten years to finish all of them.

The study that was done of downtown Montgomery also shows that cars tend to go over the speed limit on one way streets and that's not likely to happen on two way streets.

The surveying of Washington Street has already begun and motorists will start seeing the beginning of the conversion by December.

Reporter: Eileen Jones