ARLINGTON (CBS 11 NEWS) – Abram Street is one of Arlington’s busiest east-west roads. It links downtown to the entertainment district and is a major thoroughfare for commuters within the city.
But there are plans to turn the busy street from four lanes, with a center turn lane, to a two-lane road. The plan also includes on-street parking, landscaping and wide sidewalks.
The idea is to make the resurgent downtown area pedestrian friendly by reducing car traffic and increasing foot traffic.
“Cars don’t spend money,” said Tony Rutigliano, the President and CEO of Downtown Arlington Management Corporation. “They don’t pull out the credit card, right? People spend money. So wouldn’t you create a place for people? That’s what we’re trying to do.”
Rutigliano points to cities like Grapevine where Main Street traffic was reduced and its downtown became a regional destination for visitors.
“I like the idea of this becoming a destination for shopping and live music and retail,” said salon owner Scott Morris.
Morris is one of several business owners who recently moved to the rapidly growing downtown Arlington. But, he’s one of many business owners who worry that narrowing Abram will simply make people avoid the area, because of the traffic congestion.
“I think closing it down to two lanes from what it is now… How do people turn?” Morris asked. “What happens to the bottleneck? I think closing it down to two lanes might be a little extreme.”
“I would say they’re going to benefit from a pedestrian friendly downtown because they’re going to have more people here,” Rutigliano said. “And people will walk over to Shipley’s to get a coffee and a donut, right?”
Arlington will put up diagrams of the various proposals for Abram Street in the city hall lobby next week. It will likely be late summer or early fall before council makes any decisions on development.
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