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Identifying Candidate Streets for Conversion from One-Way to Two-Way

Identifying Candidate Streets for Conversion from One-Way to Two-Way

Although, in the past, one-way operation was applied to various streets across the U.S., some cities have recently converted specific one-way streets to two-way operation and found benefits.

 

The purpose, therefore, of this study is to help our local governments by identifying one-way streets in Hampton Roads which may be suitable for conversion to two-way operation.

 

As a basis for identifying two-way candidates, HRTPO staff first explored the existing literature.  The existing literature identifies several inter-related transportation issues affected by the choice of operating a street as one-way or two-way:

  1. Capacity  (and Level-of-Service)
  2. Confusion (of driver)
  3. Cost
  4. Crime
  5. Economics
  6. Freedom (of movement)
  7. Parking
  8. Safety
  9. Travel Time (and Speed)
  10. Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT)

The literature contains a mixture of data: some studies supporting conversion to two-way, some extolling the virtues of one-way operation.  Although findings on capacity, cost, commercial values, and safety are mixed, and findings on crime and residential values are inconclusive:

  • one-way streets (by definition) provide more room for parking, and usually supply lower trip travel times, whereas
  • two-way streets (by definition) provide less confusion, more freedom, and lower VMT.

The literature also includes varied methods—from simple to complex—for identifying one-way streets that are good candidates for conversion to two-way.

Based on the literature review, although one-way streets usually supply lower trip travel times, it appears reasonable for the cities of Hampton Roads to pursue less confusion, more freedom, and lower VMT by converting one-way streets to two-way operation where reasonable traffic volume and adequate pavement width exists.

Based in part on the above review of literature, HRTPO staff identified one-way streets as candidate for two-way operation if they met the following criteria:

 

  • Lacking fatal flaw (e.g. serving as on-ramp)
  • Lacking excessive traffic volume (<15,000 vehicles per day)
  • Having pavement width adequate to serve two lanes (one in each direction) plus existing parking

 

HRTPO staff considered the following to have pavement width adequate for being a candidate for two-way operation:

  • Streets with 2 or more existing (one-way) lanes
  • Streets with 1 existing (one-way) lane but with adequate existing pavement width (based on table below)

TABLE XX  Minimum Pavement Width for Consideration as Candidate for Two-Way Operation (one lane in each direction)

Execution of the above steps resulted in approximately one-fourth of the one-way streets in Hampton Roads being identified as candidates for two-way operation.  The roughly 40 candidate conversion segments will be presented at the June 7 Transportation Technical Advisory Committee (TTAC) meeting by HRTPO staff to the HRTPO member cities for them to use, determining which (if any) they wish—after review by applicable departments, agencies, and landowners—to convert to two-way operation. 

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