Based on this summary of academic work by Dr. John Gilderbloom, converting one way streets to two-way streets improves the livability in neighborhoods by:
- Reducing Crime
- Reducing Collisions
- Increasing Property Values
- Increasing Business Revenue/Taxes
- Increasing Bicycling Traffic
- Increasing Pedestrian Traffic
- Increasing Vehicle Circulation
Dr. Gilderbloom’s research is consistent with Minneapolis’ experience of converting the Hennepin Avenue/1st Avenue couplet to two-way flow (read here). Minneapolis traffic engineering staff was very skeptical of the conversion because they thought traffic flow would be significantly degraded by the conversion to two-way. To their credit, I’ve heard them say they were mistaken and traffic flow was not noticeably hampered by the conversion and the benefits to safety, circulation and bike flow have made the conversion a success.
I believe there is still a place for one way couplets in Central Business Districts, but many of the one-way couplets in our cities should be converted to two-way operations. Traffic modeling should be done of future operations when conversion projects are considered, but the evidence seems to point to the conversions almost always being a good idea.