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Does Downtown Hold Hidden Parking Potential?

“It’s probably something we should look at and evaluate,” says Chuck Henley, deputy director of public works for transportation services for the city.

Henley says the city doesn’t regularly reassess traffic patterns as a whole. It does, however, monitor major developments that can affect traffic flow. The improvements along East Broad Street around the convention center have led to one study, and the city is looking at traffic patterns on Main Street in Shockoe Bottom, for example.

But not Main and Cary downtown.

“You really have to be careful when you take them out,” says Ralph H. Rudy, assistant city traffic engineer, referring to the no-parking signs. Strolling down Main last week, he laments the difficulty of putting the signs back later, if needed. And considering the new developments along Broad Street, it’s not unlikely that more traffic could begin filtering back through the financial district and up through Monroe Ward.

“People are going to be looking for other routes,” he says.

Still, there are some signs that likely need to go, says Stephen A. Hanson, traffic operations engineer for the city. But drivers will have to wait until other developments, such as those on Broad Street, play out.

“There is no doubt that probably some of them are outdated,” Hanson says. “When all of these things get into full swing, in all likelihood we’ll change some of the traffic patterns.” — Scott Bass

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