UPDATE: City officials seek community input on one-way street conversion
The city is considering converting one-way streets to two-way. The streets include 5th, St., 6th St., 7th St., 8th St., Walnut St., Lindsay St., and Houston St.
Changes to downtown Chattanooga streets could mean more options for drivers and less travel time.
The city is considering converting one-way streets to two-way.they say the goal is to make the roads safer. The streets include 5th, St., 6th St., 7th St., 8th St., Walnut St., Lindsay St., and Houston St.
The study comes as a recommendation from the Chattanooga Forward Downtown Task Force. They presented a report in 2014 recommending ways increase workforce housing; refocusing on the public realm; filling downtown office space; protecting and encouraging existing and new development; and enhancing transportation and parking options.
But some business owners aren't sure how they feel about it.
Shannon Greer, owner of Cadence Coffee Company, says he hopes the city keeps small businesses like his in mind. Greer opened the shop on 7th St. six years ago. He says it was the perfect location.
"It's great. It's at the heart of the business district and now we are also a part of the innovation district so there's lots of great traffic. Being in the heart of the city is where we needed to be," said Greer.
But he says construction and road blocks on a narrow, one-way street can be frustrating.
"The ideas of construction make me sweat, because we've had a lot of it and and in all honesty, it doesn't feel like a great deal of consideration is made for the little guy," said Greer. "If one lane is blocked for any purpose whether it's UPS or delivery being made it can definitely create a bit of bottlenecking and stifling in traffic for sure."
City officials hope they can change that by converting the seven downtown one way streets. They did the same thing in 2003 with McCallie and MLK Blvd. Transportation leaders say it made those roads safer.
"Speeds really reduced and crashes also decreased. I think that the hope is, people slow down and people take in, look this is a vibrant downtown," said Lezlie Rupert, Deputy Administrator of Chattanooga Transportation Department.
Though a decision has not yet been made, he understands change is never easy. It's why he says he hopes there's transparency throughout the process.
"I hope that whatever they decide to do that it helps it helps small businesses like ours and it doesn't hurt it. The good thing about people in Chattanooga we just kind of roll with it you know I mean we'll take it we don't really have a choice."
If you would like to provide feedback to the city about this proposal, click here.
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