The Cedar Rapids City Council has been talking for a few years now about turning Second through Fifth avenues SE in the core of the downtown into two-way streets.
The thought behind the talk is to turn the downtown into a seven-day-a-week, 24-hour-a-day neighborhood to use and spend time in, not to rush into and then flee once the workday is done.
The latest plan discussed this week by two council committees calls for “right-sizing” the wide, multilane, one-way avenues into two-way streets with one lane of traffic in each direction, with left-turning lanes at some intersections. Most of the existing extra width of the avenues then would feature parking on both sides of the street, including some angle parking, plus designated on-street bike lanes.
Consultant Jeff Speck, Speck & Associates of Washington, D.C., also recommended that the city paint bike lanes a color such as green to make “a powerful, political statement” that the city is promoting a bicycling culture. Speck also called on the city to lobby the Iowa Department of Transportation, which dictates standards for First Avenue, a federal highway, to reduce the width of travel lanes on the street to enable room on the main arterial for a designated bike lane as well.
Perhaps most revolutionary among Speck’s proposals is this one: He wants to eliminate traffic lights in favor of four-way stops at many, if not all, the intersections between Second and Fifth avenues and First and Fifth streets SE in the downtown.
Read the story linked above for more background. What do you think of the proposals? Would they help or hurt downtown Cedar Rapids?