Beyond the Build

Community Service

Two-Way Streets

The U.S. Secretary of Transportation was in Birmingham recently for several reasons, but one that caught my attention was an initiative for changing one-way streets to two-ways. I’ve done some research since that visit, and it seems this makes a lot of sense. One-way streets were created to assist traffic flow, which has obvious benefits, but creating two-ways has a different set of assets for our cities.  I have listed few here:

  • Becomes a catalyst for investments in under-utilized sites along the road, creating opportunities for urban redevelopment
  • Plays a role in increasing a corridor’s business activity, due to increased visibility of business on both sides of the street as opposed to speeding down the road past them
  • Makes it easier for consumers to access stores
  • Reduces in crime, because there are more people present to see and report any problems.

Aside from drive-thru spots, ALL retail space requires us to become pedestrians to enter a store. If a pedestrian’s experience is better, it bolsters customer experience and likely sales.

Where one-way streets encourage speedy traffic, two-way streets naturally slow down vehicles and pedestrians allowing us to take advantage of the surrounding sites and happenings.  Calmer traffic helps pedestrians and cyclists alike enjoy the street and increases walkability as a natural benefit.

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.