Downtown traffic pattern changes: Debate welcomed

Given the debate about traffic patterns in downtown Williamsport, the best answers may come via a traffic-impact study that is upcoming to determine the effects of changing traffic patterns downtown.

But this much already is certain. The commercial business district of Williamsport is divided into the sections based on present traffic patterns.

The proposed changes would change that. Under study for consideration to become two-way are the following streets: Pine, between West Third and West Fourth streets, East Third Street between Market and Mulberry streets; and Basin Street between East Third and East Fourth streets.

The proposed changes have their critics. People interviewed for a recent Sun-Gazette story called the prospect of a two-way Pine Street dumb or unsafe for pedestrians. The changes on Pine Street would be part of a widening project on the street.

There clearly needs to be more input and discussion of all the possible traffic changes. We are pretty sure just dismissively calling the changes dumb is not a good way to start the conversation.

We are intrigued by the suggestion of some to have angled parking where streets are wide enough downtown.

And anyone who drives downtown regularly can feel how fragmented the traffic patterns are, particularly on East Third Street between Market and Mulberry streets. This fragmentation impinges on the desire for people to do business downtown and cuts into the visibility necessary for some businesses to thrive.

As for a two-way Pine Street being dangerous for pedestrians, no one should be responsible for people darting across streets where they shouldn’t be except for the person doing the darting. Perhaps pedestrian rights-of-way would solve that problem.

At least some of the traffic pattern changes downtown are long overdue and all of them are worthy of discussion.