Well, this is going to be fun. Later this summer, the city is going to convert Cannon and Spring into two-way streets. Now that may not sound like a big deal — unless you happen to drive that route every day.
There are places on Cannon in particular where two cars can't ride side by side going in the same direction. So how's it going to work when the road has opposing traffic?
Hold on to your side-view mirrors.
The problem here isn't particularly that the roads aren't wide enough, it's all the cars parked along both sides of the street. And “parked” is a kind word. Far too many of those cars and trucks have their tail ends hanging out in the road.
But the city will not curb on-street parking when Cannon and Spring go two-way.
They swear it will work out just fine.
The folks who live in the neighborhood asked for this.
They want the area to be easier to navigate, to feel more like a neighborhood. They want to slow down traffic. Of course, the speed limit is already 25 mph.
All this would be fine, except the city got rid of the East Bay exit off the Crosstown when it was reconfigured for the Arthur Ravenel Bridge.
Now it's hard to cross the upper peninsula. Certainly people aren't eager to take Calhoun, which is an old Indian word that means “street where the through-lane changes every block.”
Mayor Joe Riley says this will be no big deal. There will still be two lanes in each direction — they'll just be a block apart. It's a good point, and should alleviate some concerns about this.
The mayor suggests folks may want to go east on Spring if they are headed for upper King Street or take Cannon if they are headed south.
That makes sense, and it may work out fine. Changing Beaufain, Wentworth, Ashley and Rutledge to two-way streets hasn't seemed to be much of a problem. But there isn't as much on-street parking on Beaufain. And Ashley and Rutledge feel a lot wider than Cannon.
So some folks are worried.
Riley says it's important to make the neighborhood more livable for residents and to balance the needs of the city.
That's the mayor's theme of late, and he is correct. This is a living city and everyone needs to be courteous of everyone else. As much as the commuters need to respect the neighborhood, however, the neighbors needs to respect traffic.
Traffic engineers say they will only eliminate a few parking spots along Spring and Cannon for sight lines at intersections and some parking lots. So the locals aren't giving up much in this deal. “On-street parking is vital for those who live there to have a place to park,” Riley says.
Fair enough. But those folks are now going to have a greater responsibility to park a little better, to show they can be as courteous to the traffic as they want commuters to be.
So everybody needs to slow down and tread lightly down Cannon and Spring.
Or else just buy stock in fenders and side-view mirrors.
Reach Brian Hicks at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @BriHicks_PandC.