J J. Stemley

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - capacity, operations - traffic, infrastructure - vehicle, infrastructure - bus/tram lane, planning - safety/accidents, land use - impacts, policy - congestion, policy - parking, place - urban, place - cbd, mode - bus, mode - mass transit


Urban areas, Two way traffic, Two lane roads, Two lane highways, Transit, Traffic safety, Traffic flow, Traffic congestion, Traffic capacity, Service industries, Public transit, Parking capacity, Parking, One way streets, Mass transit, Local transit, Highway capacity, Gridlock (Traffic), Emergency vehicles, Economic impacts, Downtowns, Convenience, City centers, Cities, Central business districts, Businesses, Air pollution, Air pollutants


The article discusses the pros and cons of one-way streets. One-way street systems do have negative properties. Infrequent users of the system can be confused by the one-way pattern. Motorists must travel around the block in some cases to reach a destination. Transit operators and passengers complain about longer walk paths to and from destinations and longer vehicle travel paths. Concern is expressed about emergency vehicle operation through a one-way street pattern. In addition, some merchants argue that a one-way street system adversely affects business income. However, the author points out that the advantages of a one-way street network over a two-way street pattern, particularly in a downtown area, fall into three broad categories: safety, capacity, and convenience. He charges that officials who decide to ignore the many benefits that have and will continue to accompany a one-way street network will not be doing their constituency any favors by changing to a two-way network in their downtown area. Rather, he warns of the following: they will be imposing increased accidents and delay upon drivers and pedestrians; pedestrians will be inconvenienced where midblock crosswalks are removed; congestion and air pollution will increase; and businesses and customers will find fewer curbside spaces available for parking and delivery.