Main Street used to be two-way.

Main Street used to be two-way, as seen in this image for the early 1900s.

Over the weekend, the Journal News ran this article about a potentially big shift in New Rochelle’s downtown traffic patterns — changing Main and Huguenot Streets from one-way to two-way.

There are good arguments to be made both for and against this idea.  On the pro side, a two-way pattern could provide easier access to businesses, establish consistency with the remainder of US1, and improve downtown’s walkability by “calming” traffic.  On the con side, a two-way pattern could make the road system much more vulnerable to congestion from things like parallel parking, double parking, or left turns.

(Incidentally, traffic on Main and Huguenot was originally two-way.  The move to a one-way pattern was made several decades ago after intense community debate, largely pitting the Police Department against the Chamber of Commerce.  Adopting a two-way pattern now would be a sort of back-to-the-future move for New Rochelle.)

This is not the kind of decision that a city ought to rush into without careful thought and analysis, so we have retained traffic professionals who will use computer modeling to evaluate the concept and its impacts.  Results are expected in about six to eight months.  This study will be useful in planning for the future growth of our downtown area, even if the City ends up retaining the current one-way pattern.

I am completely open-minded and will be interested in the study’s conclusions.  If you have a strong opinion, let me know.