What is the Downtown Grid Modernization Project?
The Downtown Grid Modernization Project is an all-encompassing project that contains the engineering, traffic, and road design studies and plans for the 1-way traffic to 2-way traffic conversation.
Why is the City looking at switching some downtown streets to 2-way traffic? What’s wrong with the 1-way traffic that we have now?
- 1-way streets are designed to quickly move drivers from place to place at fast speeds – incompatible for a modern downtown.With everyone traveling in one direction (with multiple lanes) while eliminating opposing traffic, 1-way streets promote a higher rate of speed than 2-way streets. By switching some key downtown streets to 2-way, we can help slow the rate of speed.
- 2-way streets help promote a safe, walkable downtown.2-way streets, coupled with smaller lane widths, are proven to help reduce speeding. This makes traveling safer for not only drivers on the road, but for pedestrians and bicyclists too.
- More people than ever are interested in living, working in, and visiting downtown New Albany. New Albany’s downtown, not unlike many downtowns across the nation, has seen a resurgence of late. We have seen an influx of people who are interested in living, opening a business, and visiting our downtown. The City wants to do everything it can to support that progress. We believe that converting some key downtown streets from 1-way to 2-way can help support that goal and further solidify New Albany’s downtown as a destination.
- Studies and experts say its better for retailAn uninterrupted mass of vehicles traveling in one direction can harm retail environments by obscuring visibility of shops from view and distributing vitality unevenly throughout the urban landscape.
What steps has the City taken to study this issue?
In 2007, the first study was completed that looked at the possibility of converting some 1-way streets in downtown New Albany to 2-way streets. In 2014, the City of New Albany hired nationally recognized city planner and urban designer Jeff Speck to analyze the downtown grid and provide recommendations on how to make New Albany’s grid more modern, including recommendations on pedestrian safety, walkability, alternative modes of transportation, street design that benefits retail and businesses, and more. Click HERE to view Mr. Speck’s report.
The city also hosted numerous public listening sessions to gather feedback from the community, and the Mayor and other city officials have met with various community and business leaders to hear their thoughts on the project. In 2016, engineering and design work was completed by HWC Engineering in preparation for the project.
Schedule of Improvements – When will all of this begin?
Preliminary work has already begun to prepare for major construction. All non-ADA compliant ramps in the downtown grid system are currently being updated, bumpouts along Market Street have been reconfigured in preparation of the switch to 2-way traffic, and underground utility work in the area is nearing completion.
The city is anticipating that milling and paving operations will begin the week of May 15th along Spring Street. Plans include milling and paving half of Spring Street, while keeping the other half open, with crews then switching sides once the first half is completed. Upon completion of milling work, Spring Street will be paved in a similar fashion. Milling and paving is expected to take 4-5 days, with pavement marking to follow. During construction, traffic lights will switch to a timed system instead of utilizing sensors. Pavement marking is expected to take 2-3 weeks to be fully completed, but will be completed nearer to the conversion.
A draft schedule for the upcoming 2-way improvements is below. These dates are subject to weather.