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Many downtown one-way streets to change to two-way traffic

Many downtown one-way streets to change to two-way traffic
Updated: Feb. 20, 2017 at 6:18 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - If you drive in downtown Louisville, you've probably seen your share of drivers going the wrong way down one-way streets. That confusion could be helped by a plan to convert several streets to two-way traffic.

"After the bridges project opened, the next step was going to be making as many streets as we could to take them to two-way streets." Mayor Greg Fischer said of the plan.

Street changes to two-way could get underway by the end of the year or at the latest construction will begin by the spring of 2018.

City officials are certain it will take the stress out of driving into downtown.

Several key stretches like Jefferson Street from Floyd to Baxter and parts of 7th and 8th streets downtown will change.

Metro Public Works' Dirk Gowin would lead the effort. He said the street changes will be paid for with $4 million in federal funds.

Rebecca Matheny, Executive Director of the Louisville Downtown Partnership, said it's all about economic development. "When you have two-way traffic," she explained, "you really can have more balance to retail and restaurant development on both sides of the street."

It would put more eyes on businesses that get half the traffic now.

"I think it would be great because people could come from both directions and they're not concerned is this a one way street?" business owner Jason Cohen said.

Shelby Street from Ormsby to Main also is up for the change.

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Cohen is a Bourbon Barrel Artisan with a store and workshop right off of the NuLu District's main drag on Shelby. He believes the change would help drive more people to his unique furniture business.

"I think the one-way streets are limiting this whole area especially since all these things that are going in around here," Cohen said of NuLu development. "There's more people here now, there's more traffic here now there's all these one-way streets it just makes it confusing so if you confuse people they don't want to be around there, they want to go somewhere else."

Cohen's new Shelby Street neighbor Jessica Harrison is the owner of Dollface Brows and Beauty. She said of the street change, "Potentially, I think it could be a really great thing,"

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Harrison said she only has one concern, "I think the only thing that would affect businesses negatively, is if we were to lose parking because you want people to come, but they have to have a place to put their car."

Gowin said that stretch of Shelby and one on Campbell from Muhammad Ali to Main Street won't likely lose any parking.

According to Gowin, all street conversions must have Metro Council approval and a study this summer would take a close look at every one way street in Louisville.

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