Phoenix, Arizona may go off its road diet

A single-lane configuration on southbound Main Street in downtown Phoenix could be on its way out after Phoenix City Council approved amendments to the city’s Transportation System Plan March 4.

Many residents have been unhappy with the so-called “road diet” configuration since it was instituted in fall 2015. The city switched Main Street from a two-lane road to a one-lane street from Sixth Street to Oak Street in conjunction with the town’s downtown redevelopment efforts.

City officials promised a review of the project to determine whether it would continue, but adoption of a new transportation plan in 2016 included standards that did not allow conversion back to the former alignment.

“The public has since spoken, and there is a clear preference to return to a two-lane configuration for southbound Main Street,” Planning Director Evan MacKenzie wrote in a report on the amendments. Most public comment received has been negative on the one-lane setup. Merging into a single lane from side streets has been criticized, with backups occurring during peak periods.

While residents wanted a change back, it wasn’t gong to be simple. A conditional-use permit would have needed approval from the Planning Commission to allow two lanes unless the transportation plan was amended.