LAST CHANCE FOR CUSHMAN TWO-WAY

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15,650 autos rolled through downtown daily in 1980.  Today, only 14,750 make the trip.  Factor-in Borough-wide population growth over the last 30 years, and the decline is even larger.  

Attracting people downtown is the obvious cure to declining downtown visitation.  The FMATS Policy Committee will decide this week whether or not public infrastructure will play a role in attracting people and private investment downtown.  The Policy Committee will decide whether or not to restore Cushman and Barnette streets to two-way circulation which, combined with on-street parking, widened sidewalks and other streetscape improvements, provides the biggest positive impact to downtown’s revitalization. 

What you can do: 

  • Send a letter to FMATS Coordinator Donna Gardino supporting two-way traffic and pedestrian-friendly downtown streets;
  • Attend the FMATS Policy Committee meeting tomorrow, June 16 at 10 AM in City Hall to support two-way traffic and pedestrian-friendly downtown streets. 

The FMATS Policy Committee is poised to strike down the restoration of two-way traffic to Cushman and Barnette streets, proceeding instead with a 30-year-old Barnette Bridge and Terminal Street intersection configuration intended to speed people through downtown on one-way streets.  What FMATS would do for streetscape improvements on one-way Cushman and Barnette streets remains an unknown;  it is possible that there would be no physical change to Cushman and Barnette streetscape. 

 What the FMATS Policy Committee might say about two-way:

Project delay:  DOT claims that accommodating two-way traffic on Cushman and Barnette streets will delay the Illinois street project.  This claim is not independently verifiable – and formidable.  But it is possibly an overstatement, in which event it would be early to give up on the two-way circulation framework most conducive to downtown’s revitalization.  (Right-of-way acquisition is the ‘critical path’ to construction of the Illinois Street Project; about half of the right-of way has yet to be acquired.)

Late in the game for two-way:  Two-way circulation has been an established revitalization measure since 2007.  Only FMATS’s claims of delaying the Illinois Street project have kept two-way from a fair hearing. 

Lower PM2.5:  Some assert that rushing traffic through downtown on one-way streets is good for mitigating PM2.5 pollution downtown.  If one-way streets are THAT effective at PM2.5 mitigation, then why not convert the Old Steese to one-way, or South Cushman.  You get the idea . . . .