Chattanooga considers converting one way streets downtown

If approved, the study will look at seven one way streets in downtown Chattanooga. (Image: WTVC)

Tuesday night, the Chattanooga City Council voted on a resolution to approve a traffic study. The study will look at converting seven one way streets, and opening them to two direction traffic.

Administrator for the Chattanooga Department of Transportation Blythe Bailey says a conversion to two way streets could keep drivers and pedestrians safe.

"Any city that has one way streets inevitably gets frustrated," said Blythe Bailey. "Because where they want to go - they can't go because it's the wrong direction, Sometimes they actually turn the wrong way."

Bailey says one way streets require more turns and eliminating them could reduce accidents at intersections. The study would look at 19 intersections and 2.66 miles of road. 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th streets, along with Lindsay Street and Houston - are all up for consideration.

Clark Glover is Vice President of Fischer Evans Jewelers, which sits on the corner of 8th and Market.

"We wouldn't be excited about it," said Clark Glover about the proposal.

Glover says parking, accessibility and safety for customers are among his concerns.

"There's an enormous number of stop and start traffic even on Broad," said Glover. "...You're going to cause much more congestion turning onto 8th street."

But other business owners on streets that could be affected say - it might help their customers. Starr Bradley owns Cache Hair EFX on the corner of Houston.

"Right now it's an inconvenience for us because we're having to turn around to get to our destinations," said Starr Bradley. "So I think it's a very good idea to open it up."

CDOT says a conversion would build on work from 2004 when they changed McCallie Ave, Cherry Street and MLK Blvd to two way roads.

Chattanoogans who remember that switch say if the new proposal moves forward, it will take time to adjust.

"I didn't want to drive down the way that I wasn't allowed to drive down in the past," said Janet Williams. "I just felt like I was turning up the wrong way."

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