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digital_sandlapper

One-way Streets: What is their purpose, and should they be converted?

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Thought this would be a good debate . . and sorely needed, especially for Charleston. The One-Way Street--the bane of visitors, new-comers, and even long-time residents--is it obsolete in the modern world?

What is the purpose of a one-way street? I can't think of any practical reason for them. They frustrate and are dangerous. Worst of all, it is a proven fact that they encourage speeding.

Shouldn't all of Charleston's one-way streets, with the exception of King, be converted to two-way? Spring, Cannon, Ashley, and Rutledge especially need this to SLOW DOWN drivers. They are primarily residential, but are nothing more than dangerous speedways for through traffic. They endanger pedestrians and local drivers attempting to park, and discourage walk-ability with their noise and aggression. A streetscaping project for Cannon Street was supposed to address this there, but I've never seen any progress. I used to live on Cannon Street--trust me, the drivers, especially late at night, exceed the posted speed limits relentlessly and needlessly. Park along this street at your own risk, as well, and don't let your children cross without supervision!

King Street is just too narrow to convert south of Calhoun . . UNLESS parking was banished, but that'll never happen.

Beaufain Street and Wentworth Street (partially) were recently converted in the primarily residential Harleston Village area to much controversy. However, they have been made quieter and safer. (I must admit, I did curse the ridiculous amount of stop signs at each intersection . . this was overkill, IMO. Also, I almost got run over when crossing the street near St. Philip Street intersection because I wasn't used to looking both ways! This subsides, of course, as you get used to it over time.)

What do you think?

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One way streets are a way to maintain traffic volumes in built up areas without widening existing roads to four lanes. Downtown Charleston has a high volume of traffic, and it has to be managed somehow. Obviously widening roads is not an option. With Charleston, it helps to have roads that act as thoroughfares in and out of downtown.

Conversely, many of Charleston's streets- particularly in the French Quarter and South of Broad- are too narrrow to allow for bi-directional traffic. In addition, on street parking (which is desparately needed downtown) often creates situations where one way streets are the only way to make it happen.

They can be confusing, but I think they are ultimately beneficial. Most tourists come in on Meeting Street or King St, so it stands to reason that they would also leave on that same street. I also don't think that they inhibit pedestrian activity in Charleston. Its still the same distance accross, and if anything its easier to cross because you only need to look one way to check for traffic.

Cannon St is something else entirely. The Cannon/Spring combination provides access to the Ashley River bridges, which are each one way bridges. If you look at them on a map you can see how they are just an expentsion of Cannon and Spring. It would be extremely confusing to convert those to two way streets. I once had my car vandalized on Cannon St. so I wouldn't park there again anyway :)

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The purpose of one way streets, in my opinion, is to allow more lanes or traffic without actually widening the road. This cut back on eminant domain demolition and allowed more lanes for traffic in either direction the drawback being it can be confusing to newcomers. For example a one way street with two lanes flowing in one direction allows for more traffic flowing in that direction, instead of just having one lane flowing in that direction and the other lane going in the opposite direction. I think in most cities, especially in downtown areas one way streets are being converted to two way because the towns realize that the public appears to dislike one way streets and the roads don't necessarily need the extra lane that being one way allows. I've heard that many towns and cities converted streets to one way in the '60's and '70's as part of urban renewal, thinking it would help out their downtowns and ease traffic perception although in many cases it proved to be unnecessary.

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Existening one-way streets south of Calhoun must be kept to keep the traffic moving as best as possible. Too bad if the one-way street configuration is non user friendly, they will have to get used to the system. Cities typically, are consistant of one way streets except the major throughfares.

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So the debate then becomes whether or not you think that one-way streets are appropriate for Charleston.

I think that they are. Some streets are just too narrow, like I said before. Also, the streets are currently oriented to meet with the Crosstown, I-26, and the bridges over the Ashley, which were designed with these one way streets in mind. It would be impractical to change the system now. it would dramitically worsen the flow of traffic on and off the penninsula. You can easily make the argument for a few streets here and there. Neighborhood streets may not require one way designation, but at some point on Charleston, it becomes necessary to have a high volume road in one direction to connect with the suburban road system.

In a city like Greenville, Spartanburg or Columbia, you can make the arguement that they are unnecssary, and I would probably agree (for the most part).

Greenville and Spartanburg are not riddled with them like Charleston, and the places that they do exist make sense logically... Court St, Beattie Place-North St in Greenville... Dunbar St, Wall St (area around the square) in Spartanburg.... Taylor St- Hampton St in Columbia.

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What part of Cannon St. was your car vandalized on? I often park on Cannon St. to visit the Five Loaves Cafe at the intersection of Cannon and Coming. Usually during the daytime of course. This area might be improving with the large housing development being built there with houses starting in the 200k+

One way streets are a way to maintain traffic volumes in built up areas without widening existing roads to four lanes. Downtown Charleston has a high volume of traffic, and it has to be managed somehow. Obviously widening roads is not an option. With Charleston, it helps to have roads that act as thoroughfares in and out of downtown.

Conversely, many of Charleston's streets- particularly in the French Quarter and South of Broad- are too narrrow to allow for bi-directional traffic. In addition, on street parking (which is desparately needed downtown) often creates situations where one way streets are the only way to make it happen.

They can be confusing, but I think they are ultimately beneficial. Most tourists come in on Meeting Street or King St, so it stands to reason that they would also leave on that same street. I also don't think that they inhibit pedestrian activity in Charleston. Its still the same distance accross, and if anything its easier to cross because you only need to look one way to check for traffic.

Cannon St is something else entirely. The Cannon/Spring combination provides access to the Ashley River bridges, which are each one way bridges. If you look at them on a map you can see how they are just an expentsion of Cannon and Spring. It would be extremely confusing to convert those to two way streets. I once had my car vandalized on Cannon St. so I wouldn't park there again anyway :)

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Near the intersection with Rutledge^ but it was late at night (for a party) and it was on Halloween, so kids were up to no good anyway. Still, I wasn't happy about it.

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I don't doubt that. I've parked in many areas of Charleston, both downtown and otherwise, over the years and only had one incident happen to me. Around 1997 I was forced to park far from th school I was attending( Johnson & Wales) on America St where it dead ended at the old Cooper River bridges. If you're familiar with Charleston, you'll know that America St. was and remains one of the most notorious, crime ridden streets in the whole Charleston metro. Well sure enough, when I returned to my car after class it had been broken into and an old radar dectector, an open bag of potato chips, and a cheap rear view mirror pendant had been stolen. They completely ignored the more valuable books, checkbook, and cologne that was in the car. I figured it was probably some drug addict looking to pawn something for a quick fix. Needless to say I never parked in that area again.

Near the intersection with Rutledge^ but it was late at night (for a party) and it was on Halloween, so kids were up to no good anyway. Still, I wasn't happy about it.

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