One-way streets in downtown Ottumwa could see conversion to two-way

A plan to convert West Main Street and West Second Street to two-way streets has been a tossed around by the city council for almost 20 years, but it could soon become a reality.

At Monday night's Ottumwa City Council work session, the proposed conversion plan was met with positive reception from the council, many who said it has been a long time coming.

The council feels that now is the perfect time to put a plan in place with all the ongoing construction in downtown Ottumwa.

The two-way traffic would aim to make the downtown area more pedestrian friendly. People tend to drive slower on two-way roads.

It would also potentially give a boost to businesses in the downtown area. As drivers slow down, they have more opportunities to look at these businesses.

The Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation would assist in funding the project.

"Back in the day the one-way conversions were a part of commuter strategy," said Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation President, Brad Little. "Main Street has plenty of data now. We're in a consumer strategy where two-way traffic gives a lot of our businesses a better look and makes it easier to navigate our downtowns. And it makes anywhere we have one-way streets that are converting to two-way more user-friendly."

Nothing has been finalized, but the plan could be put into motion as soon as early next year.