Unchecked Relic: A Blunder of City Planning in Georgestown

A small portion of Barnes Road being a one-way street is a little odd, and, as it turns out, a relic of council once again caving to the demands of a few. And not undoing the one-way status once its reason for being was terminated.

Turner’s Letter to the Editor in August’s print issue of The Overcast, about the recent rendering Winter Avenue into a 1-way street, has gotten a lot of attention, including an email that explained the non-sense of why a section of Barnes Road is one-way only.

To quote the gentleman who got in touch, Robert Power wrote, “I agree with everything U. Turner said about the city’s mangling of one-way streets. The city obviously has no traffic planning in place. And they certainly do not have any kind of review system.”

The map graphic above shows a perplexing one-way portion of Barnes Road in Georgestown. The Street itself is a short one, so why a tiny strip of it, between Mullock Street and The Dardanelles, would be one-way only, forcing a truly senseless detour, is a little odd, and, as it turns out, a relic of council once again caving to the demands of a few. And not undoing the one-way status once its reason for being was terminated.

“I grew up on Barnes Road,” Power said, “which was always a two-way street. Eventually the city made the intersection on Bonaventure Avenue an exit only. This actually made sense because there is a blind turn on Barnes Road, and a blind turn at the top of Belvedere street, and the entire intersection was a death trap.

“However, the ridiculous part is farther down the street. Presentation School used to be at the other end of Barnes Road, and I guess the nuns or someone connected with the school eventually got fed up with the traffic jam on the street every morning, and eventually prevailed on the city to make the one block of Barnes Road between The Dardanelles and Mullock Street into a one-way street, which probably helped with traffic flow when parents were picking up and dropping off their kids.

“However, that school closed decades ago and no one from the city has ever put the street back to two-way. Maybe it’s because the nuns still own the property (which is now The Lantern), but that one-way block is now a terrible hindrance to traffic flow.”

This unchecked relic of history makes for an utterly nonsense detour now. “Anyone turning in Barnes Road from Military Road has to turn right on The Dardanelles, left onto Hayward Avenue, left on Mullock Street, and right onto Barnes Road just to travel ONE BLOCK on the street.”

Power made another good point about how the city doesn’t seem to review traffic planning decisions over time. “Otherwise,” he says, “turning lanes would no longer be the same length they were in 1970 when the city had half the number of cars, and green arrows would flash more than 5 times.”

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