Downtown EC: Your destination for two-way motoring

Sarah Dobs

Mind-blowing artist’s rendering of a two-way downtown.
Mind-blowing artist’s rendering of a two-way downtown Eau Claire. Can you believe it's not real?

Bust out the yellow paint. According to Eau Claire City Council meeting notes from last week, downtown Eau Claire streets will start going both ways – once the Barstow Street and Beyond* reconstruction project is complete (it starts in the summer of 2012). Advocates for the change to two-way say it will increase traffic and allow visitors to easier navigate the labyrinth that is the downtown area. While business owners argued that one-way streets are necessary for deliveries, the Eau Claire City Council decided that a two-way system would be more beneficial for the Downtown area as a whole.

City Council acknowledged that further planning needs to be done with Eau Claire engineering firm Ayres Associates in order to address the loading concerns of business owners, but the street reconstruction needs to focus on drawing more visitors.

Councilman Bob Von Haden said, as reported by the Leader-Telegram, "The businesses aren't going to increase, unless you get more traffic downtown. We have to make sure we do more than just switch the streets. We have to continue to provide outside activities in the downtown area."

Once the construction begins next summer, it’s likely to continue through the winter and into 2013. And then maybe the residents of Eau Claire who patiently attended meetings, debated ideas, responded to surveys, and submitted construction ideas will finally starting seeing all their involvement pay off.

*A term we just now coined.

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