Thursday, August 26, 2010

Two-ways and a Two-way Ticket

I'll be visiting friends in Seattle on the weekend and taking a day trip to Vancouver, BC, a place I have never stepped foot in before despite many many many google earth trips. My hope is to put together a field trip post next week. However, due to the busy schedule that has limited content on this site recently, I will have to see how much time I will have.

On the other hand, the city of Richmond, VA is planning a shift from one-way streets to two-ways:

It's happening on North Second Street -- "2 Street" in the lore of Jackson Ward's jazz-inflected history -- where developer Ronald Stallings is restoring the Hippodrome Theater and an adjacent building in what he sees as a revived entertainment district.

Ettamae's Café, a cozy restaurant owned by brother and sister Matthew Morand and Laura Morand Bailey and their father, Paul, opened last month in one of Stallings' buildings two doors from the historic theater.

Stallings, president of Walker Row Partnership, has developed 55 projects in Jackson Ward, a neighborhood with a storied history as the birthplace of African-American capitalism. "I'd like to see Jackson Ward emerge as a walking history like Williamsburg, where you experience it, you don't just drive through it," he said.

The return of two-way streets is critical in making that happen, he said. "Visitors get so turned around with all the one-way streets. They have to make three right turns to go left."

Second Street, for example, travels one way north until it makes a sharp left to reach North First Street, which extends one way south and connects northward to a bridge across Interstate 95 to Gilpin Court and North Jackson Ward. Fifth Street travels one-way south from Interstate 64 across I-95 and Broad to Cary Street, where it becomes two-way to the James River and the American Civil War Center.

People using valet parking at the Richmond Marriott leave their cars at the hotel entrance, across from the convention center at Fifth and East Broad. The valets drive the cars two blocks west along Broad to Third Street, turn right and proceed one block to East Marshall Street. They turn right again and travel back to a parking garage a half-block from where the journey began.

'That half-block alone would be huge," said Jack Berry, president and CEO of the convention center and visitors bureau.

So would making Fifth Street a two-way street all the way to the river, said the city's architects. They envision a bike path along the street that would allow people easy access to the James, as well as the hotels and businesses that beckon on the other side of Broad Street from the convention center.