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Erik Burgess, Published June 27 2013

NP Avenue reopens as two-way road today

FARGO – NP Avenue will officially be a two-way street today.

The junction of NP and Broadway, which closed at the beginning of June for brick repair, will also reopen today, civil engineer Kristy Schmidt said.

The middle and south lanes of NP will carry eastbound traffic, while the north lane will have westbound traffic. Street parking will be available where applicable in the direction of traffic flow.

First Avenue North will also be converted to a two-way road later this summer. That phase of the project begins July 22. At that time, the intersection of Broadway and First Avenue North will close for up to 30 days for brick repair.

Schmidt said she believed the two-way operation already in place because of the detour was running smoothly and hasn’t received any comments from residents or drivers.

“Hopefully we’re going to have enough striping and signing out there and portable message boards to get people aware … that NP is now two ways,” Schmidt said. “It’s the permanent configuration.”

The general reaction to the downtown conversion has been mixed, said Mike Hahn, president/CEO of the Downtown Community Partnership.

Hahn said while the general public tends to question the need for the project, downtown business owners are “excited” for the increase in accessibility into the two major downtown corridors.

With two-way traffic, cars will also slow down, creating greater visibility for downtown businesses, Hahn said, which will help future development, especially on side streets that aren’t quite as full now.

“Over the long run, we hope that this will help infill those streets and turn NP and First into what Broadway is today,” Hahn said.

The city will be making a PR push once both streets are converted to two-ways, including billboards and potentially some radio spots, Schmidt said.

One issue they will address in that campaign is reminding delivery drivers not to take up the middle lane or the sole lane going in one direction on either avenue, Schmidt said.

“They’re supposed to be designated to mornings, and that we do not want delivery trucks parked in the center lane,” she said.

Pedestrians are encouraged to look both ways and drivers to take it slow as they familiarize themselves with the new traffic pattern, Schmidt said.

“We have a lot of devices out there to help people out,” she said.