One-ways will stay

An ambitious proposal to turn one-way streets into two-way streets in Midtown has been dramatically scaled down. The proposal was intended to slow traffic through Midtown and to create more livable, walkable neighborhoods.

But L, P and Q streets will remain one-way, as per the city’s Department of Transportation’s recommendation. The prospect of converting J Street was abandoned earlier this year. With that, N Street would be the only downtown thoroughfare likely to receive a two-way conversion that goes more than a couple of blocks. All downtown streets initially had been considered.

“We’re not saying the ones that aren’t selected can never get converted,” said the city’s project manager Hector Barron. “But for this project at this time, this is what we’re recommending.”

Barron said converting L, P and Q streets would have caused excessive “system-wide impacts.” He also said reducing those streets to two lanes already has slowed traffic.

Though Barron said funding—or lack thereof—wasn’t the main concern, even the pared-down project needs more money.

“L, P and Q would cost several million dollars, so they’re not recommending we go forward on those,” City Council member Steve Cohn said.

But neighborhood activist Paul Harriman said this doesn’t justify giving up on the project.

“That’s like building a rocket ship and then saying you don’t have money for fuel,” said Harriman, a longtime Midtown resident. If it were up to him, all downtown streets would be two-way.

Cohn and city staff will discuss the changes at a public meeting on December 14 at 5:30 p.m. at the Sacramento Convention Center.