John Gilderbloom and William Riggs' paper Love is a Two-Way Street, featured on Curbed National yesterday, suggests that "one of the easiest, cheapest route to improving a city may be re-routing, specifically, eliminating one-way streets." In fact, "their research shows the shift cuts the risk of collision or injury in half." But One Way has been the only way for the vast majority of center city streets in Philly, since the town made the "unfortunate change to one-way streets back in the 1920s, at a time when the automobile was being introduced to American cities.
Why exactly are one-way streets "ruinous?" Because, claims Dom Nozzi, street and urban design consultant and writer of Dom's Plan B Blog, "they inevitably increase car speeds," which, more than just affecting the motorist, pedestrian, and cyclist experiences, also has far-reaching adverse effects on the local economy. In fact, researchers Gilderbloom and Riggs found that "property values were higher for buildings located on two-way streets."
But, Nozzi acknowledges:
Many one-way streets in Philadelphia will be very difficult to revert back to two-way, as most streets are quite narrow. Probably only those streets that are three- or more lanes in size can be converted back to two-way, or two-lane streets that have low traffic volumes. · One Way To Fix Cities is to Eliminate the One-Way [Curbed National]
· Philadelphia: The Curse of the One-Way Street [Dom's Plan B Blog]
· Two-Way Streets Can Fix Declining Downtown Neighborhoods [Planetizen]