By LESLIE COLLINS
May 8, 2013
Several one-way streets in downtown Kansas City will change to two-way streets by the end of May.
“This is something we’ve been looking at for quite some time,” said Sean Demory of the Public Works Department. “Throughout the area you are looking at streets that for one reason or another were kept one-way a little too long. It’s not as effective for traffic.”
One example Demory cited is a stretch of Walnut located north and south of the Power & Light District. While streets along the Power & Light are two-way, Walnut is a one-way street and causes confusion, he said.
Other streets will be converted to two-way streets to prepare for the downtown streetcar and to improve traffic flow in general.
Demory said the department identified the streets through traffic studies and noted that downtown traffic has changed over the years.
“Downtown of 20 years ago and downtown of 10 years ago is not what downtown is now,” Demory said.
Downtown has become more active during both business hours and off-peak hours, he said.
To alert drivers of the changes, new signage will be installed and the “do not enter” signs will be removed. Road striping will also be added and traffic signals will be adjusted. Parking alignment will not change.
Streets scheduled for the two-way conversion include: Baltimore Avenue between Ninth Street and 12th Street; 4th Street between Broadway Boulevard and Wyandotte Street; and Walnut Street between Fifth Street and 12th Street.
Other downtown streets may be converted to two-way in the future and the department is continuing to review potential streets, he said.
Crews will begin converting the streets during Sunday morning hours to cause the least inconvenience to drivers.
“We will not leave drivers stranded during business hours or make streets impassable,” Demory said. “We will make this as painless as possible, and we think the end result will be a more accessible downtown.”