The year 2021 will soon be over and another year will have passed where the absurd traffic pattern on Greene Street in downtown Greensboro has remained unchanged.
I can’t count the number of times during the past 15 years that mayors, city councilmembers and directors of the Greensboro Department of Transportation (GDOT) have told me that Greene Street would be a two-way street before the end of the year.
Keith Holliday, who was mayor of Greensboro from 1999 to 2007, in his last term said that one of his goals before leaving office was to finally get Greene Street returned to a two-way street.
President of Downtown Greensboro Inc Zack Matheny, when he was on City Council from 2007-2015, worked on getting Greene Street returned to a two-way street. As president of DGI, Matheny has continued to lobby for bringing some sanity to the traffic pattern downtown. But Matheny has had no more success as president of DGI than he had as a city councilmember in having Greene Street returned to a two-way street.
So Greene Street remains the way it has been for years. North Greene is a two-way street from Fisher Park to Bellemeade Street.
South Greene Street is two ways to Washington Street. Greene Street between Washington Street and Bellemeade Street is one way going south.
It is a mindboggling traffic pattern and one explanation for why it exists is that it facilitates Lincoln Financial employees leaving the company parking deck on Greene Street at the end of the workday. At one point, it was said that what was then Jefferson-Pilot didn’t want to spend the money to have the entrance and exits altered for two-way traffic on Greene. However, years ago the city reportedly agreed to cover that cost and that evidently wasn’t the problem because Greene Street remains a two-way-one-way-two-way street.
One aspect of the bizarre traffic pattern that doesn’t get mentioned enough is that it is dangerous, because some visitors to downtown Greensboro miss the signage and continue north on the portion of Greene Street that is one way going south.
Someone with more clout than mayors and city councilmembers must find this weird traffic pattern pleasing, because despite the efforts of elected officials it never changes.