CR to convert 3rd Ave to Two-Way

Downtown merchants and motorists in Cedar Rapids should get ready for another round of one-way to two-way street conversions starting next spring. But the coming changes to the remaining one-way portions of Third Avenue S.E. will be different. It’s the final conversion project in a process that started nearly four years ago.

Third Avenue S.E. in downtown Cedar Rapids. This stretch which is one-way now will convert to two-way starting next spring. The city is hosting an open house event Thursday to discuss the final street conversion project.

To get ready for a final round of construction, the city invited downtown business owners to an open house on Thursday.

Changing the remaining one-way portions of Third Avenue will take the entire construction season.

Matt Myers, Cedar Rapids traffic engineer, says the city has seen a noticeable change in traffic patterns with the switch.

Traffic on the two-way avenues is going a lot slower compared to the days when one-way avenues with stop lights funneled traffic through as quickly as possible.

The philosophy now is to create more of an urban traffic pattern with more consideration given to pedestrians and bicycle riders.

But even with the switch to stop signs at many intersections on the two ways, it doesn’t take a lot longer to go through downtown.

Meyers says that’s because a lot of traffic has gone elsewhere.

And he says other communities considering similar changes to downtown traffic are calling and asking for advice.

“I think it’s pretty epic. I’ve been in traffic for almost 30 years and the fact we changed from one-way to two-way, there are cities that call us and ask us how we did it,” he said.

The open house event for the final two-way street conversion in downtown Cedar Rapids takes place Thursday from 12:00 p.m. until 1:00 p.m. at the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance offices, 501 1st St. S.E.

There is no presentation, but city staffers will be available to answer any questions about the process.