First of 5 New Albany one-way streets opens to two-way traffic

(Source: Michael Williams/WAVE 3 News)
(Source: Michael Williams/WAVE 3 News)
Updated: Aug. 29, 2017 at 5:19 PM EDT
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NEW ALBANY, IN (WAVE) - The city of New Albany is headed in a new direction. On Tuesday, the first of five one-way streets opened to two-way traffic.

Spring Street from State to Vincennes is no longer one-way.

On Wednesday, Bank and Pearl will be open to two-way traffic, and Market and Elm will follow next month.

Laura Blanton was born and raised in New Albany and she's witnessed a big change like this before.

"I was a very young child, but I remember when it switched to the one-way," Blanton said.

For decades, several one-way streets allowed for swift downtown traffic, and for a while there's been a push for just the opposite.

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"Well this is a day we've been waiting for 15 years," District 3 Councilman Greg Phipps said. "The first study was conducted over 10 years ago. There's been a lot of grassroots effort from the neighborhoods."

While the goal of the project is to slow down traffic, Police Chief Todd Bailey doesn't think there will be any major congestion issues. Lanes have already been closed during the construction.

First responders have given the changes a green light.

"One of the things that it does specifically, is it allows police and fire and EMS to more rapidly get to locations that are important for us to get to," Bailey said.

Four other downtown streets will convert in the next couple weeks.

"After all these years, I'm so used to it being one-way going the other way, so I was a little caught off guard when I turned the corner," resident Jeanne Schmidt said. "But I think it will be a lot nicer."

City leaders hope the conversion will make downtown more walkable and accessible, inviting even more visitors to the businesses on this side of the Ohio.

"I think it makes it more convenient and probably easier access now, too," Schmidt said.

Spring Street will remain one-way on the other side of State Street leading to the Interstate 64 ramps.

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