From Robert Whitcomb's "Digital Diary,'' in GoLocal24.com
Sometimes a city can take relatively simple and inexpensive measures to make itself more popular and prosperous. For example, it can improve its signage, clean up graffiti more quickly and punish the perpetrators – and turn more one-way streets into two-way streets.
The last has been generally shown to increase a city’s overall employment, reduce crime and accidents, boost the quantity and quality of housing (including hotels) and expand such sectors as food, entertainment, the arts and professional services.
Now, some might complain that two-way streets make downtowns too crowded. But crowded cities are safer and more dynamic than less densely populated ones. And those with lots of street life 24/7 are the best. That’s a good reason to replace as many surface parking lots as possible with buildings (even if they’re parking garages). The fewer gaps between buildings the better. For an interesting discussion of the pros and cons of two-way streets, read this CityLab piece, co-authored by Richard Florida, who has written a lot about downtown Providence, among other old cities.