RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – When Raleigh originally created one-way streets its purpose was to in and out cars to and from downtown faster. Some of those one-ways are still around but can create confusion.

“We get some occasional, against the flow, turning the wrong way on a one-way street,” Chris Tonneli said, the co-owner at So&So Books. The store has operated on Person Street for nearly one decade.

Person Street is currently a one-way street and the city now wants to convert it to a two-way street. It hopes it can create more safety for pedestrians, slow down speeds and provide more visibility for businesses.

“The sort of extras, the peripheral things are thoughtfully planned, that’s sort of where my interest lies,” Tonelli said.

He wants city planners to consider transit systems, cyclists and crosswalks in their design.

“Downtown Raleigh used to have a lot of one-way streets,” Jason Myers said, the Transportation Planning Supervisor for the city.

Raleigh is going one street at a time with the current focus on Blount Street and Person Street north of Edenton Street. A design meeting is scheduled for this fall, but a construction timeline is still pending.

The process of converting one-way streets started more than a decade ago when the city updated its downtown policies and plans. The policy update was vague, but called for a restoration of two-ways where feasible and desirable.

However, there are no specific streets on the conversation list.

“I think it’s going to take longer than 10 or 15 years,” Myers said.

That’s because the city needs to re-engineer signals and traffic patterns while working with bus routes when they change traffic flow.

The changes all add up.

“Every time we put in a new traffic signal or have to significantly change one, that costs a quarter of a million dollars,” Myers said.

Roads owned by the state or the legislature add to the complexity.

“The project on Blount and Person Street is really struggling with a lot of that and it’s something the city is going to be investing a lot of resources into,” Myers said.

In the short term, the city has been partnering with the North Carolina Department of Transportation on improving safety for pedestrians downtown. Myers said the NCDOT has funded a lot of those changes.

“Lowering speed limits, changing signal timing, changing some of the turns at some of the major intersections where at this point might put pedestrians at risk. We’re trying to reduce that risk and make it safer to walk,” Myers said.

He said people are going to see some of these changes over the next year or two.

In addition, he said when NCDOT resurfaces streets, the city looks for opportunities to do work at the same time.

Dawson Street and McDowell Street will soon be resurfaced so the city is working with DOT to make changes to lane patterns.

“There’s a phenomenon on McDowell Street where if you’re heading northbound and you want to drive through, there are three lanes through, but at one point everybody’s got to shift over one more lane,” Myers said.

He said planners are looking to eliminate those lane changes and to have a consistent three lanes through downtown northbound.

“And maybe add turn lanes in some places where they’re not or take turn lanes away where they’re not needed, add on street parking or loading zones so we’re looking at those things.”