How (Some) Drivers Suffer From One-Way Streets

MLewyn's picture

Generally, supporters of a less car-dependent society are critical of one-way streets, while supporters of the sprawl status quo favor them. 

But I have a somewhat different perspective after driving around downtown Atlanta today.  I drove there to do an errand for my mother, and the maze of one-way streets added 10 minutes to my drive time, as I searched in vain for a southbound street to get me home.  So it seems to me that one-way streets are actually inconvenient for someone who has business downtown and is trying to navigate his or her way home.

So who does benefit from one-way streets?  Someone who knows where they are going, has no business downtown and wants to escape downtown as speedily as possible. 

So it seems to me one-way streets are not necessarily a "driver vs. pedestrian issue."  They are more of a "driver vs. driver issue."  In particular, diverse interests include drivers who aren't used to an area (who suffer from one-way streets) vs. locally knowledgeable drivers (less so), and neighborhood business owners (who suffer as drivers speed away from businesses on one-way streets) vs. suburban commuters (who do not suffer).

So unqualified support of one-way streets isn't necessarily pro-driver.  Instead, one-way streets are anti-hospitality (because nonnatives are inconvenienced) and anti-business, though possibly pro-sprawl (at least where they make speeding easier). 

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