JAMESTOWN – Mayor Sam Teresi says he would probably support making Fourth Street a two-way street… but also cautions that it would be an expensive and lengthy process.
During his June interview with WRFA on our Community Matters program, Teresi talked briefly about the suggestion to make Fourth St. a two-way street in order to promote a more pedestrian-friendly environment and one that some claim would be more inviting for commerce.
For more than 40 years, Fourth Street has been a one-way street for 14 blocks of downtown – from Prendergast Ave. west to Monroe St. Teresi says that the suggestion to make the street two-way has been nothing new, and he even focused on making it a part of his masters theses during the early 1980s.
“My knowledge of this subject is that from the day that they made Fourth St. into a one-way street heading westbound in the alternate one-way street pattern of the downtown area, there have been calls for and discussions and research about returning it to two-way traffic, and I believe that analysis should continue,” Teresi told WRFA during his recent appearance on our Community Matters public affairs program.
But Teresi also said that converting Fourth Street into a two-way street is not something that he can simply recommend or that the city council can simply act on. He said an entire study would first need to take place to access downtown traffic patterns and what impact converting Fourth Street would have on those patterns. That would obviously cost money and it may take time for the city to receive the necessary funding that would be needed.
Still, the mayor said it’s probably a good idea to at least consider converting the street. “My general experience with one-way streets – except in the most congested, vehicle-heavy traffic situations – is that they have a dampening effect on pedestrian activity and also commerce and business activity,” Teresi said. “I think that it would be a good thing if eventually we could figure out a funding approach and take a look at returning Fourth St. to two-way traffic in most areas.”
Teresi added that even if a study were completed and funding was available to convert the street, the city would still need to receive permission from New York State because of Fourth Street’s relationship to Route 60, which intersects Fourth St. at Washington St.
The idea of converting Fourth St. into a two-way street was recently brought back into the spotlight by Jamestown Renaissance Corporation deputy director Peter Lombardi in an op-ed piece that appeared in the Jamestown Post-Journal in May. WRFA also spoke with Lombardi about the possibility.