An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
THERE’S AN EASY WAY to help sort out the one-way street issue.
There many obvious advantages to returning Seymour Street to two-way traffic but one that makes some people hesitate — speed. They fear two-way traffic would slow them down.
That’s entirely possible, because slowing down traffic on Seymour is actually one of the purposes of going back to two-way. Measures can be taken, however, to avoid bottlenecks while improving the livability of the street.
In 2005, the City Centre Plan’s transportation assessment looked at the pros and cons of getting rid of the one-way on Seymour, and traffic engineers found it held opportunities to improve the streetscape, storefront exposure, parking, crosswalks, traffic circulation, transit routing, and would allow for wider crosswalks as well as benches and trees.
Left-turn lanes and right-turn lanes could be designed into the revamped Seymour Street to ensure smooth flow at intersections.
Seymour could become a people street again, not just a slingshot through downtown.
But could we live with adding a half minute or so to the trip if we’re just passing through? Surely, we still have it in us to relax just a little, but here’s a way to find out.
You may have noticed that, in order to hit all the green lights on Seymour you have to boogie at about 35 km/h. That’s not break-neck compared to most other streets but it is in comparison to shopping streets like Victoria.
So why not change the timing of those lights to force a slow-down in traffic? It would cost nothing and would give us a taste of a different way of thinking about Seymour Street. Who knows, we might like it.
As usual, this advice is offered free of charge. That’s what I’m here for.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.