Is two-lane traffic on North Front Street beneficial?

Reported by Lynda Figueredo - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - In April 2007, the City Council voted to add a southbound lane to North Front Street from Market to Red Cross Streets.

Though there have been a lot of changes to downtown Wilmington over the years, people still say it's hard to find a parking spot.

City council members hoped that the southbound lane would encourage shoppers by easing traffic flow.

But is it working?

Jeweler Janice Kingoff said two-way traffic was suppose to ease congestion, but it has actually made deliveries more difficult.

"It is congested for big trucks - it's difficult to turn around. Our clock was destroyed when a big truck was trying to get around park car.  When it was one way not a problem," said Kingoff.

The old Kingoff Clock was destroyed in December 2007 when a delivery truck backed into it.

Opponents say the two-way street is not as pedestrian friendly, but supporters say it helps speed up the flow of traffic.

It was a controversial change, but to help preserve the pedestrian friendly nature of Front Street new asphalt, brick and mid-block crosswalks were added.

In the process of the makeover, a handful of parking spaces disappeared.

"My customers lost 19 parking spot most customers like vertical parking people not used to horizontal parking," said Kingoff.

Some store owners said they haven't seen a dramatic change in the number of shoppers.

It seems that 20 months after the Front Street change, it's too early to say if it's a move in the right direction toward revitalizing downtown Wilmington.