Again, in the article, arises the issue of traffic engineering, a rotary, and whether traffic should be one-way or two-way on Main Street and Front Street.
Well, I look at it this way. Everybody cries over downtown Waterville, bemoaning the store vacancies and the lack of evening activity that would make it feel vibrant, exciting, and successful. I’d vote for the two-way option, slowing down traffic, and maybe even increasing suggestion. I actually feel that the downtown traffic engineering should, surprisingly, not have the goal of moving traffic quickly and efficiently. Strange?
When a downtown is congested, people complain, "Oh, boo-hoo, it took forever to get through downtown. There was this big truck blocking one lane, and a field trip of school-kids coming out the museum down there. Then the cyclist hit the blind lady crossing, and the ambulance and the UPS truck arrived at the same time…."
Well you know what? Congestion is a symptom of…bingo! – ECONOMIC ACTIVITY. And of popular, successful businesses and attractions. If people are crossing streets, those people are employed workers and consumers. Cars are backing in and out of parking spaces? More consumers. If delivery trucks are unloading, that's a sign of retail sales, sales taxes, property taxes, and rents being paid.
If a motorist is stuck in traffic in front of your shop, or theater, or gallery, they just might get bored and glance around and think, "Huh, I never noticed that before. Looks like some cool stuff in the window. I'll have to come check that out when I've got more time."
Conversely, anyone complaining about the congestion is likely hell-bent on passing through the area as quickly as possible on some errand, and not the kind of person we want to attract downtown anyway.
I can create for you the kind of downtown that is unobstructed, quick, and easy to get through, but you wouldn't want it. Just close half the businesses, leave the rest boring, stodgy stuff that doesn't bring much foot traffic or sell any hard goods, and keep the one-way streets. Traffic will flow right through. But everyone will be complaining about what they are right now – only worse.