Ashland Lane Changes

Change in the works for the City of Ashland, as officials consider cutting the Main street down from three lanes to two in the downtown area. Business owners, in particular, are worried that East Main street could look quite different this time next year, if the idea takes root.

Reducing lanes is raising eyebrows.

“We need three lanes, we really do,” says business owner, Judi Honore.

The City of Ashland is using $100,000 dollars of tourist tax dollars to beautify the downtown area. As they do so, officials are considering reducing E. Main to two lanes from the plaza to Third st.

For Judi Honore, who owns Shakespeare Books and Antiques in Downtown Ashland, the idea seems absurd.

When I drive to get to my store in the summertime, if we didn’t have three lanes I can’t even imagine what it would be like.

However, according to city council members the idea has merit.

“The city decided to take a holistic view of downtown traffic,” says City Council Man Greg Lemhouse. “There’s no guarantee we’ll do it, but I think it’s a healthy excercize.”

City officials are still discussing what the extra space would be used for, anything from expanding the sidewalks, adding a bike lane, and or creating a loading zone for business trucks.

“When you look at traffic engineering some of it’s counterintuitive. Sometimes reducing lanes it increases the flow.”

But, even Pam Hammond, manager of Paddington Station and member of the city transportation committee is against the idea, partly because businesses use that extra lane for their delivery trucks to unload.

“With having delivery trucks stopped in a lane, and only one lane for traffic to flow could cause a lot of bottle necks.”

For now, the concept is still being formulated and frowned upon,

Honore says, “It sounds like it would be a beautification project, in terms of workability I’d give it a D-.”

A grade the council will have to think about if they decide to move forward.

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