Baker Street Two-Way Restoration
Downtown’s roadway network is dominated by one-way streets, which make driving Downtown, particularly for those unfamiliar with the three intersecting street grids, confusing. The one-way streets also contribute to congestion, as drivers must loop around to get to their destination. Two-way streets, in contrast, help make Downtown easier to navigate and more welcoming to visitors, increasing mobility by offering greater flexibility in routes, and increasing safety by reducing travel speeds with the introduction of on-coming traffic. Two-way streets also make the streets more pleasant for walking, thus supporting foot traffic and, in turn, economic development.
To improve connectivity and navigability Downtown, the plan proposes the restoration of two-way travel to nearly seven miles of existing one-way streets. This dramatic shift will fundamentally change the experience of Downtown, transforming corridors that currently feel and function as one-way thoroughfares to urban streets that support a more vibrant street life, which in turn supports economic development. Other benefits of the two-way restoration include increased flexibility in the road network because drivers will have greater choice in devising their routes; more direct routes between destinations and thus less congestion; reduced confusion for drivers; and slower driving speeds resulting in increased safety for all.
The visualization above illustrates existing peak-hour traffic patterns. This data, collected in April 2019, reveals some street Downtown experience imbalanced stressed across the network. Congestion intensity is indicated with yellow and red lines, with red being most severe. Note the consistent pattern of congestion along many streets, while available capacity along Baker Street is constant, illustrated predominately in green. Once restored to two-way operations, Baker Street will reduce volumes and congestion on surrounding streets.
The two-way resoration of Baker Street has been studied by CAP/ADID since 2003 -- via the Imagine Downtown Plan. The project has since been established as a priority for the Downtown community, because two-way operations on Baker St will dramatically relieve existing congestion along Ivan Allen Jr Blvd, especially at the I-75/85 Williams St Interchange. Additionally, Baker Street east of Centennial Olympic Park Dr and west of Piedmont Ave, is and has always been two-way, so restoring the 6-block central segment into two-way will create consistency, fully aligning with the traditional driver expectations, and reduce travel delays by providing flexible route options to users.
Key benefits of the project include:
- Reduce congestion on many surround streets by spreading car volumes across the available street grid network. Widening is not an option in Downtown, so it’s critical to acknowledge underutilized streets and employ their available capacity. The project is will reduce 11% of vehicles traveling on Ivan Allen Jr Blvd.
- Improve east-west access. Providing Baker as a two-way street unlocks access to Downtown for all communities on the west side of Downtown. Currently, Ivan Allen Jr Blvd is the only street which fully traverse Downtown, from either east to west. Baker Street is positioned to provide an alternative connection. A connection which will make it easier for communities on the west side to travel east.
- Organize curb side operations. At the present commercial loading, taxicabs, regional buses, rideshare vehicles, and coach buses all vie for the curb. The proposed concept will allocate space for these operations to be coordinated allowing the street to benefit more citizens.
- Improve safety for all users. The proposed two-way street condition will align driver speeds with the posted speed limit and aims to eliminate high speed crashes. The reduction is speeding vehicles will make the streets more comfortable for bikes, scooters and pedestrians.
A summary briefing of the project is available here.
Project description from the 2018 Downtown Atlanta Transportation Plan is available here.
For additional information, please contact Wesley Brown at 404-658-5983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.