One Way or Two? A Case Study of East Breckinridge in Louisville

William Riggs, PhD, AICP, LEED AP, Wesley Meares, PhD., Zaria Murrell, MD., Samantha Alexis Smith, Brad Cronin, John I. Gilderbloom, PhD

The livability of an inner-city neighborhood is greatly impacted by the design of the street in terms of whether it accommodates the needs of one-class of users (cars and trucks) while ignoring the needs of pedestrians and bike riders. While recent moves toward ‘complete streets’ policy throughout the country have allowed for more dollars to flow toward bicycle and pedestrian oriented projects, many streets are still plagued by unsafe conditions. This is especially the case for multi-lane one-way streets, which some studies show as creating unsafe crossing conditions for pedestrians and cyclists. This study evaluates the changes of street dynamics over 13 blocks of a single street in Louisville, Kentucky. We find that conversion of East Breckinridge to a multi-lane, one way street increased crime, accidents, abandonment, and decreased property values. We found the multi-lane one ways, although not contributed solely to degradation, is a significant cause to the erosion of community. This provides support for expanded thinking about how two-way street conversions may increase livability.


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