Council to Consider Making Portion of Franklin Street One-Way

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People in a downtown Charlottesville neighborhood say conditions are unsafe for pedestrians. Now, Charlottesville City Council is thinking about turning part of Franklin Street in the Woolen Mills neighborhood one-way.

City Council shot down the request from neighbors to do this years ago, but Monday it was back on the table.

Bill Emory says he's worried about pedestrian safety in his neighborhood. He lives in Woolen Mills and says traffic is a problem.

Emory took some pictures and made a YouTube video to show the city, asking them to make a section of Franklin Street - about a quarter of a mile stretch coming off East Market Street - one-way.

“It's the least expensive way that the city can provide for safety in this corridor,” said Emory.

Now, seven years after City Council struck down a nearly identical request the proposal is back and city leaders say there is more to consider than people might think.

“A one-way street would allow us to create a larger sidewalk and more pedestrian facilities, but it also would impact motor traffic so those are things that need to be weighed,” said Miriam Dickler, spokesperson for the city of Charlottesville.

Workers at a storage facility on Franklin Street say if the street becomes one-way, they're not sure how they'd get their trucks in and out, which could be a real problem for business. So they're getting their attorneys involved.

A city report shows fire and EMS responders also present a concern since they like to use Franklin Street as a shortcut in emergencies.

“What staff's recommendation is is that should council decide to move forward with making a portion of Franklin Street one-way, that it's done as a pilot program initially so that we can really assess the impacts,” said Dickler.

But Emory says the city needs to do something, before someone gets hurt.

“There's no one who's going to be put more than a minute out of their way with this change,” said Emory.