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Submission + - One-Way Streets Have Higher Accidents Rates, Higher Crime, Lower Property Values

HughPickens.com writes: Emily Badger writes in the Washington Post that a study shows that one-way streets are bad for everyone but speeding cars with an analysis done on the entire city of Louisville, comparing Census tracts with multi-lane one-way streets to those without them. The basic pattern holds city-wide: They found that the risk of a crash is twice as high for people riding through neighborhoods with one-way streets. What is more interesting though is that crime is higher and property values are lower in census tracts with one way streets..

First, they took advantage of a kind of natural experiment: In 2011, Louisville converted two one-way streets near downtown, each a little more than a mile long, back to two-way traffic. In data that they gathered over the following three years, Gilderbloom and William Riggs found that traffic collisions dropped steeply — by 36 percent on one street and 60 percent on the other — after the conversion, even as the number of cars traveling these roads increased. Crime dropped too, by about a quarter, as crime in the rest of the city was rising. Property values rose, as did business revenue and pedestrian traffic, relative to before the change and to a pair of nearby comparison streets. The city, as a result, now stands to collect higher property tax revenues along these streets, and to spend less sending first-responders to accidents there.

Some of the findings are obvious: Traffic tends to move faster on a wide one-way road than on a comparable two-way city street, and slower traffic means fewer accidents. What's more interesting is that crime flourishes on neglected high-speed, one-way, getaway roads and that two-way streets may be less conducive to certain crimes because they bring slower traffic and, as a result, more cyclists and pedestrians, that also creates more "eyes on the street" — which, again, deters crime. "What we’re doing when we put one-way streets there is we’re over-engineering automobility," says William Riggs, "at the expense of people who want a more livable environment."

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