Work is underway to remove the inconsistent one-way/two-way street network downtown and transition all downtown streets to two-way travel. This will make the downtown and surrounding districts easier to navigate and help reduce confusion. Two-way streets also help encourage slower travel speeds, allow for pedestrian and bike accommodations, and support business access/visibility.
3rd Ave Downtown
Project Area: 3rd Avenue, from 1st Street SW – 5th Street SE
- Surface improvements on roadway
- Protected bike lanes on 3rd Ave Bridge, separated by planters and benches
- Protected bike lanes from 1st Street to 5th Street SE, separated by raised medians
- Pedestrian bump-outs at intersections between 1st Street SE to 5th Street SE
- New railroad gates and crossing arms with bump-outs at 4th Street SE
- One-way to two-way conversion on remaining one-way segments (3rd Street to 5th Street)
Project Area: 3rd Avenue, from 5th Street SE – 19th Street SE
- Surface improvements on roadway
- Bike Lanes (protected bike lanes from 5th Street to 8th Street, separated by raised medians; traditional bike lanes from 8th Street to 19th Street)
- One-way to two-way conversion on remaining one-way segments (5th Street to 8th Street; 13th Street to 19th Street)
- New flashing pedestrian signal planned at Park Court
- Intersection modifications on 3rd Ave at: 16th Street, 17th Street, and Ridgewood Terrace
- Remove traffic signal at 19th Street and convert to all-way stop
- On-street parking modified (net gain in parking spaces)
- Upgrading aesthetics and curb-appeal
- Removing inconsistent one-way segments
- Creating smoother driving surface
- Enhancing safety for pedestrians and cyclists
- Slowing traffic speeds
- Creating a roadway layout that best supports current traffic volumes
- Creating a roadway layout that supports recent commercial and residential growth
- Railroad gates and crossing arms are required before the City can apply for a Quiet Zone designation.
Continued collaboration with Union Pacific Railroad means that safety improvements will take place this year at the railroad crossing on 3rd Ave, including the construction of new arms, gates, and pedestrian bump-outs. These are necessary to support two-way traffic and will also help secure a Quiet Zone.
Installation of Railroad Gates & Crossing Arms
Construction and timeline governed by the railroad
- 2nd Avenue, 4th Avenue, 5th Avenue | Completed Spring/Summer 2018
- 3rd Avenue | 2019
- 1st Avenue | 2020
Following the completion of the installation of gates and crossing arms, the City will apply for a Quiet Zone Designation. While not all train horns will be eliminated due to federal safety requirements, the noise level will be substantially reduced.
Why Two-Way Streets?
Two-way street conversions are being considered on many existing one-way streets for several reasons, primarily safety, efficiency, and convenience.
- Safety: One-way streets – especially if they have multiple travel lanes – often encourage higher traffic speeds due to motorists’ ability to pass a slower vehicle, creating unsafe conditions for residential or downtown environments.
- Efficiency: One-way streets are outdated, and often do not support today’s traffic volumes. Built decades ago before the construction of the interstate, one-way streets were often used to move high volumes of commuter traffic. Today, a large volume of traffic has been pulled off these streets and onto I-380, enabling residential or downtown streets to better serve local destinations.
- Convenience: Two-way streets are easier to navigate, and cut down on the time it takes to get to your destination. Traffic no longer has to make “loops” around one-way streets, but can take the shortest, more direct route to a home or business.
Features of Downtown Conversions
Pedestrian Safety | Painted Islands
- Reduces walking distance for pedestrians.
- Increases visibility for those trying to cross the street.
Protected Bike Lanes on 3rd Avenue
- 3rd Avenue is a primary bicycle route.
- Protected bike lanes separate cyclists from moving vehicles
- They create a more comfortable experience for those riding bikes, and decrease incidents of “dooring.”
- Signals in the downtown area that have been removed do not meet traffic warrants, which means traffic could be accommodated comfortably by stop signs.
- Stop signs also help eliminate unnecessary idling and the yielding that comes with waiting for oncoming traffic.
Completed in 2015
- 2nd Avenue, from 6th Street SW to 1st Street SE
- 3rd Avenue, from 6th St SW to 3rd St SE
- 4th Ave SE, from 5th St SE to 19th St SE
- 8th Street SE, from 4th Ave SE to 12th Ave SE
Completed in 2016
- 7th Street SE, from 4th Avenue to 12th Avenue
Completed in 2017
- 2nd Avenue SE, from 13th Street and 19th Street
- 3rd Avenue SW, from 6th Street SW to 5th Avenue SW
- 5th Avenue SE, from 5th Street to 19th Street SE
Completed in 2018
- 2nd Avenue SE, from 1st Street SE to 8th Street SE
- 4th Avenue SE, from 3rd Street to 5th Street
- 5th Avenue SE, from 3rd Street to 5th Street
- Oakland Road NE, from H Avenue to 32nd Street NE
Scheduled for 2019
- 3rd Avenue SE, from 3rd Street to 8th Street
- 3rd Avenue SE, from 12th Street to 19th Street