The Measurable Metrics of Downtown Huntsville

As we’ve discussed in previous posts, we place high value on using metrics to measure how Downtown is developing.  This can include market studies like our Downtown Retail Demand Study or our (soon to be updated) Downtown Housing Study Summary.

It can also include less conventional metrics like traffic counts and how they are affecting activity in our city center.  Fortunately, we have great partners like the City of Huntsville’s Traffic Engineering Department that can help analyze changes using empirical data. 

One example is the relatively recent conversion of Downtown segments of Holmes Avenue and Clinton Avenue from one-way streets to two-way streets.  These conversions were specifically called for in the Downtown Huntsville Master Plan Update because research shows the economic value of two-way streets in a Downtown environment.

The Many Benefits of Making One-Way Streets Two-Way

The economic impact of one to two-way street conversions: advancing a context-sensitive framework

One Way to Two Way Street Conversion Benefits

For Downtown Huntsville, the City’s Traffic Engineering Department recently conducted a traffic count analysis on Clinton Avenue and compared it “pre” and “post” conversion back to two-way (its original design) from one-way.  We’ve copied a summary of the findings below and you can find the hard data here.  

The study shows that the two-way conversion has increased traffic counts which is a good thing for a retail district such as the Clinton Row area.  In fact, oftentimes, the higher a corridor’s Average Daily Traffic counts, the better the corridor is suited for retail businesses.

These types of empirical, data-driven analysis efforts are a critical element to our efforts to revitalize our city center in both a qualitative and quantitative way.

From the City’s Traffic Engineering summary:

Attached are directional traffic counts for Clinton Avenue Jefferson Street and Washington Street taken over the 72-hour period of November 6-8.


Tuesday: EASTBOUND 3637, WESTBOUND 1382; TOTAL 5019
Wednesday: EASTBOUND 3477, WESTBOUND 1343; TOTAL 4820
Thursday: EASTBOUND 3458, WESTBOUND 1467; TOTAL 4925

Average 4900 vehicles per day in this block.  Prior to the conversion from one-way to two-way traffic, the average volume was nearly 3000 vehicles per day. 

[We are] also including directional road tube counts taken over the same period for Clinton Avenue between Spragins Street and Jefferson Street and Washington Street and Greene Street.  Clinton Avenue between Spragins Street and Jefferson Street averaged 4700 vehicles per day.  Prior to the two-way conversion this block averaged 3400 vehicles per day. 

Clinton Avenue between Washington Street and Greene Street averaged 3100 vehicles per day.  Prior to the two-way conversion this block averaged 2300 vehicles per day.