Stretches of three Downtown streets are now open to two-way traffic, a move Columbus officials hope will benefit pedestrians and businesses by slowing down drivers.
That’s it for now, though. Department of Public Service spokesman Rick Tilton said yesterday that one-way restrictions have been lifted in recent years on portions of Civic Center Drive, Gay Street and Front Street, but no other conversions are planned.
The latest changes, which took effect yesterday:
Front Street is open for northbound and southbound traffic from W. Mound Street near the Franklin County Courthouse to W. Town Street near the former Lazarus building. The change makes Front a two-way street from W. Mound to W. Broad Street.
Main Street is open to eastbound and westbound traffic from S. 2nd Street to S. High Street, east of Bicentennial Park. It will remain a one-way eastbound street from High Street to Grant Avenue.
Rich Street also is open to eastbound and westbound traffic from S. 2nd Street to S. High Street east of the park. It will remain one-way westbound from Washington Avenue to High Street.
Business owners on the Near East Side have asked the city to open Spring and Long streets to two-way traffic, and Tilton said a decision will be made after the Ohio Department of Transportation completes reconstruction of the I-71/670 interchange in 2014.
Engineers want to look at the effect that ramp closings and highway expansions will have on the routes people use around Downtown, he said.
In areas such as Bicentennial Park, where a $44 million makeover has lured more people to the Scioto Mile riverfront, one-way streets tend to encourage faster driving, city officials say.