Traffic On Main Street: An Idea to Lessen Davidson's Biggest Burden
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Traffic On Main Street: An Idea to Lessen Davidson's Biggest Burden

We've all experienced it, but how do we fix it?

Traffic On Main Street: An Idea to Lessen Davidson's Biggest Burden

Residents of the town of Davidson know the back-to-back, seemingly endless line of cars and flow of pedestrians that make up a typical weekday afternoon on Main Street, but the students at Davidson College are all too familiar with the traffic, as well. Despite the seemingly unpopular caution flags that were installed at many intersections in the town, crossing Main Street by the college or at the intersection with Concord Road remains a dangerous task. We college students might be in our own bubble, but when confronted with the prospect of turning onto Main from Glasgow during rush hour, we suddenly understand the daily struggles of Davidson’s inhabitants.

With the growth of Charlotte and its suburbs in recent years, I-77 experienced a dramatic increase in traffic flow, which many hope will be abated by the expansion of the freeway, although this addition won’t be completed for several more years. The congestion on the freeway has encouraged drivers to shortcut through Davidson via Main Street when commuting to and from Charlotte, and the combination of this with new businesses that have opened in the heart of the town have caused the horrible traffic that we know so well today.

Despite the traffic concern, city planners for the town are considering opening new shops on South Main Street in response to residents’ demand for more shopping experiences and employment opportunities within Davidson. The project would include building some direly needed parking spaces for the newly installed businesses. The additions are currently still under study for their feasibility, but the possibility of their existence, although it would be great for Davidson’s economy as well as convenient for its residents, raises concerns about future traffic problems due to booming businesses.

Officials of the town have of course taken the problem into account by creating a “Connectivity and Traffic Calming Plan” for Davidson. The proposal includes plans to reconstruct intersections such as, but not limited to, Main Street and Concord and Main and Griffith in order to better accommodate motor vehicles and pedestrians during busy hours. It also proposes building a road from Potts to Sloan Street as an alternative to Main Street usage (see a map of Davidson roads to picture what this might look like). The long term project comes with an estimate of over $1 million dollars to cover initial construction costs. With the ever-increasing daily traffic flow through Davidson, will some connection roads and “safer” intersections be enough to dilute the concentration of cars on Main Street? Since businesses continue to pop up especially in the center of the town, the addition of new roads appears to be fighting a losing battle.

There are of course some short-term options to mitigate the flow of vehicles on Main, such as encouraging residents to walk or bike more when going into town. However, some residents have mulled around the idea of making the busiest part of Main Street a pedestrian-only zone. I know, I cringed at first when I heard that, too. But when I thought about it more, why not? With careful planning to ensure that residents who need vehicular access from their driveways onto Main receive it and people still have motor access to the college, a pedestrian-only zone is quite possible. Not to mention it is safer for pedestrians, and restaurants/shops can expand their spaces onto the road.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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