Sept. 12, 2023 5:05p
(WGTD)---Some behind-the-scenes steps have been accomplished in Racine that are expected to lead to some big changes in traffic patterns in the downtown area.
The city council last week approved three agreements with the state Department of Transportation. Those agreements remove state highway designations from downtown streets, officially shifting those highways to streets located just west of the downtown.
The moves mean that the city can turn 6th and 7th Streets into two-way traffic, eliminate one lane in either direction on Main St. and install more stop signs.
City Public Works Director John Rooney says the goal is to make the downtown area more attractive to pedestrians and bicyclists. "A traffic pattern down there that is much slower, stops at several intersections and doesn't allow for that through traffic---a lot of that leads to higher speeds. It doesn't necessarily make it most comfortable for pedestrians who want to cross those intersections or for bicyclists," he said.
The traffic changes were recommended by a consultant who studied downtown redevelopment opportunities several years ago.
The changes aren’t expected to full take effect until next summer.