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Reviewing Potential One-Way Street Conversions in Established Neighbourhoods


The City of London has historically used one-way streets as a key component of the downtown
roadway network; two parallel streets with opposing one-way vehicle flows provide motorists
with a fast and convenient route across the City. Traffic signal co-ordination is typically used on
these roadways, providing numerous benefits including reduced delay and congestion, in
addition to increased traffic flow during peak periods. Similar one-way road configurations can
be found within several older, established neighbourhoods throughout the City. These roads
typically travel between arterial corridors and feature stop control at intersections and on-street
parking. In recent years, the City of London has initiated studies to review the merits of
maintaining one-way operations or converting these roadways to two-way operations.
It has been found that within a neighbourhood context, one-way streets do not provide the same
operational benefits as noted in the downtown network and can actually confuse motorists
unfamiliar with the area. This confusion occurs when a motorist must travel down one of the
one-way streets then loop around the block and backtrack on the other parallel route in order to
reach a destination. Local residents must also perform this manoeuvre when leaving or arriving
at their property. The one-way street layout may also encourage motorists to use these roads as
cut through routes between arterial roadways. Converting these routes to two-way operation has
the potential to increase traffic safety and the accessibility of a neighbourhood through the
elimination of this movement.
Traffic analysis revealed that no significant change in local operations would occur with the
conversion to two-way, provided that the necessary additional infrastructure requirements (turn
lanes, widening, reconfiguration of intersections, etc.) could be accommodated. Preliminary
design of two-way configurations determined that a majority of the alterations required to
convert these roadways involved sign and pavement marking additions or removals. More
significant alterations were required at intersections with arterial roadways as new turning lanes
had to be accommodated.
Overall, it was recommended that the one-way streets studied be converted to two-way
operations. Doing so would increase the overall accessibility of these neighbourhoods which
contained a mix of commercial, institutional and residential access points. These conversions
could be completed with no significant impact to existing traffic operations and minimal capital
investment. As these neighbourhoods were well established, pedestrian and cycling facilities
were found to be less than ideal (i.e. curb face sidewalks, no bike lanes) and conversions could
potentially provide an opportunity for upgrades to the corridors.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Transforming Infrastructure of the Past to Accommodate Traffic of the Future
Gilham, J.