First Street Conversion To Two-Way Traffic Updates
The efforts to convert First Street from one-way to two-way traffic is inching forward, with series of public meetings scheduled to present data and solicit commentary from the general public; due to the current response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the meetings will be held virtually as follows:
- Wednesday, May 27: An online seminar to address the eastern-most section of First Street - between 24th Avenue East to 3rd Avenue East will happen via a Webex meeting; click here for the link and use "Event No. 471 170 542 (password 6224)" to gain access into the meeting.
- Thursday, May 28: An online seminar to address the downtown segment from 3rd Avenue East to Mesaba Avenue will happen via a Webex meeting (the same URL as the meeting from the day before); click here for the link and use "Event No. 479 984 429 (password 6224) to gain access to the meeting.
The virtual meetings are the result of a consultant study that the City of Duluth commissioned to convert First Street from it's current one-way configurations to two-way traffic. The consultant is finalizing engineering plans to complete the change in 2020. According to their study, the one-way traffic patterns on First Street are confusing and dangerous for people and makes east to west travel difficult in the downtown area as well as the Medical District.
According to the findings of the study, there are benefits to the project. A two-way configuration would allow direct access to downtown and the Medical District and better circulation between them. It would also reduce travel speeds by 5 to 10 mph. The change would provide improved safety measures for pedestrians. It would also allow better flexibility for east to west travelers, and reduce delays caused as a result of traffic control changes.
At the same time, there are concerns - especially for some of the businesses located along First Street in the downtown area. Many have loading and unloading zones established that would need to be removed. In addition, the Holiday Center's parking ramp is designed for entry and exit via the one-way traffic configuration on First Street.
One additional element derived from the consultants study is that some existing traffic signals on First Street would be replaced by stop signs. The signals at 1st and 2nd Avenues East and at 4th and 5th Avenues West would be converted over to stop signs.