Two-way traffic returns
May 8, 2009
Upper Park Avenue has reverted to two-way traffic, ending the wintertime restriction on the stretch of narrow Old Town road.
The Public Works Department recently removed signs designating Park Avenue between King Road and Heber Avenue as a one-way northbound street. line> easing the restriction, drivers are allowed to access upper Park Avenue from the Heber Avenue intersection instead of driving to another intersection to get onto the street. The restriction is typically in place from Nov. 15 until April 15.
The wintertime restriction allows snowplows to push snow to the side of the road. If there was two-way traffic through the winter, there would not be enough space to store the snow before it is hauled off the street after a big storm.
"We don’t have the snow-storage capacity, since it’s been narrowed, to provide a two-way street there," says Pace Erickson, who manages the operations in the Public Works Department.
The upper portion of Park Avenue is a residential stretch of street with numerous historic houses. Some of the people who live on upper Park Avenue have for years desired that City Hall turn that part of Park Avenue into a one-way downhill street throughout the year, saying doing so would reduce traffic.
There has been resistance at City Hall, though, with officials consistently claiming a year-round restriction would have effects on traffic patterns on nearby streets.
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Meanwhile, another section of Old Town street was recently reopened after an annual winter closure. The portion of 10th Street between Woodside Avenue and Norfolk Avenue is shut down during the winter because it is too narrow and too steep to keep it safe.
"You would not want to have traffic on that street in the winter," Erickson says.
Numerous streets in Old Town are narrow and some of them are steep as well. It is difficult for two drivers heading in the opposite direction to pass each other at many spots in the neighborhood.
For more information about the streets, call the Public Works Department. The department’s main number is 615-5306.