Group Wants to Turn One-way Streets into Two-Way Streets

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COLUMBIA - The Downtown Columbia Leadership Council is considering converting some one-way streets into two-way streets.

The group's idea focuses on roads between College and Hitt Streets. The streets include Paquin, Waugh and Locust.

The council suggested the idea as a way to improve traffic flow in and out of downtown. Right now there are only three roads that lead directly into downtown from the east.  The council wants to see what people think about changing that. 

"You don't want everyone funneling into Broadway...taking some of that pressure off, especially with students that are just going in and out of where they live and having to go through the shopping district to get there is kind of a funnel effect," council chair, Brent Gardner said.

Brent says there's already a street in place, that being Locust, where the idea could be explored.

Right now between Hitt Street and College Ave, Locust Street is a one-way eastbound street. With the recent addition of the Brookside apartment complex, the council said that expanding the street would benefit residents living there.

Lee Elementary School is also located on Locust Street and would be directly affected if the street were changed to two-ways, according to principal, Karen Burger.

With the proposal, she said she is concerned about the safety of her students if cars were coming from both ways.

"When you have six buses pulling up and it is taking up this whole side of the street and parents dropping off and trying to get by, a two-way street just seems it would add to the havoc and to the danger of letting students off and having students get safely in the car and get on down the road," Burger said.

The plan is only just an idea with more discussion planned in the near future.

The council will hold a citizens planning session at the Walton Building on September 24 at 5:30 p.m.  Members are encouraging community members to come to the meeting to share their opinions and discuss the ideas.