Gorham Street will not be converted into a two-way street when it reopens on Sept. 2. Although the neighborhood asked the city of Madison for a trial, there was not time to get it approved by the Common Council.
"We want to keep this idea alive," says Patrick McDonnell, president of the Tenney-Lapham Neighborhood Association. The neighborhood believes a two-way street will calm traffic and encourage more owner-occupancy. Says McDonnell, "Operating as a primary arterial for cars is not conducive to families with children."
McDonnell notes that there was "remarkably little fallout" from closing Gorham for construction this summer, suggesting it isn't needed as a downtown artery. "There is more capacity on the stretch of East Washington than perhaps even Traffic Engineering had imagined."
Ald. Brenda Konkel recently introduced a resolution calling for a transportation study of the entire downtown corridor. "No one is looking at the big picture," she says. "Streetcars looked at streetcars, Platinum Biking looked at biking. There was no overall look at downtown."
Konkel says if the city opens one-way streets like Gorham to two-way traffic, it should have some idea how the entire isthmus will be affected. And the city should plan for how cars, buses, bikes and pedestrians will interact.
"We really want to look at the whole thing as a big package," she says. "Not just do what is best for individual neighborhoods."