The Festival of the Arts is at hand, which means, among other things, a lot more foot traffic in the general vicinity of Hudson and Sheridan. It seemed like a good time, therefore, to gauge consultant Jeff Speck’s assertion that several downtown streets are too wide, given the meager number of cars coming through.
So I’m on foot at Main and Hudson, near the west entrance to the Galleria parking garage, to watch the cars back up from Sheridan, where Hudson is closed to accommodate the Festival — and they’re not backing up, despite the fact that one lane of Hudson is blocked off: maybe four cars, at most, are waiting at the light. Meanwhile, it’s a long slog across Sheridan to get to the Festival, but it’s an even longer slog across Hudson. Admittedly, this was high noon, not exactly the peak hour for downtown commuter traffic, but on a Festival day, there’s likely an extra 50,000 folks downtown, and they’re all in the same general area. Furthermore, rather a lot of those fifty thousand don’t come downtown very often at all, so they’re apt to be perplexed by the layout of things, assuming they aren’t already befuddled by the most recent screwing around with the street grid. Right now, it looks like Speck 1, City Planning 0.