Jefferson Avenue is to be converted to two-way traffic between 11th Street and Collingwood Boulevard as soon as Monday, depending on weather next week, Gary Stookey, a senior engineer with Toledo's transportation division, said yesterday.
It's the latest one-way street in downtown Toledo to be changed back to two-way, and Mr. Stookey said city officials intend to continue the campaign following the guidance of a master plan recently adopted by Downtown Toledo Inc.
Eliminating one-way streets as much as possible is intended to make downtown easier to navigate and friendlier to pedestrians and merchants.
New traffic lights and signs are being installed between 11th and Collingwood this week, the engineer said, and line painting for the new traffic pattern will start on the first dry day next week.
"That's an improvement," Tom Crothers, director of the Downtown Toledo Improvement District Inc., said yesterday.
"We'd like to see [bi-directional traffic on Jefferson] extended, frankly, all the way to the river. But this is a good first step."
The Downtown Toledo Improvement District Inc. is the functional successor to Downtown Toledo Inc., whose master plan recommends two-way traffic not only on Jefferson but also Madison Avenue and Huron Street.
Jefferson now is eastbound-only from Collingwood all the way to Water Street.
Mr. Stookey said two-way traffic on Jefferson indeed is likely to be extended toward the Maumee River in the future, but in stages.
Going two-way from 11th to Erie would be first, but requires relocation of some underground utilities before stoplight poles can be erected on several corners, he said.
Taking Jefferson two-way past Erie, Mr. Stookey said, is complicated by the presence of the downtown bus loop.
While the loop itself is westbound on Jefferson - and is sometimes used illegally by confused motorists - the loop occupies a lane that otherwise would be available for regular two-way traffic, he said.
Madison was converted to two-way traffic earlier this year between 17th Street and Woodruff Avenue, as was Woodruff between Collingwood and 23rd Street.
City officials may convert the rest of Madison to two-way traffic in the future, Mr. Stookey said, but only after the effects of converting Jefferson are known.
Huron is "still being considered" for two-way traffic, he said.
One-way traffic on Erie, Michigan, 11th, and 14th streets is unlikely to change, Mr. Stookey said, both because the first two connect to the Anthony Wayne Trail and the last two feed traffic going to or from I-75 ramps, and because "nobody's pushed for it, either."
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