The Folly of Having Some Streets that Are Both Two-Way and One-Way at the Same Time – July 14, 2020

In Wichita, most streets are two-way. There are a small number of streets that are one-way. There’s even a smaller number of streets that are both depending on what part of the street you are on. It’s confusing enough for people who live here, but to newcomers, it’s weird. When I first moved to Wichita, this last category didn’t exist to my knowledge. In the downtown area, the following North/South streets fall into each of the above categories, starting in the west and heading east: Main (both – one-way North), Market (one-way North), Broadway (2-way), Topeka (1-way South), Emporia (1-way North), St. Francis (both, one-way South).

Bit of a background, Main and Douglas (East/West – 2-way) is the dividing line for North/South and East/West. Any street North of Douglas is labeled North (with a few exceptions where there is no South version of the street) and each street of Douglas is labeled South (again there are a few exceptions). For Main, any street West of Main is labeled West and any street East of Main is labeled East. Again, there may be exceptions where a street doesn’t have an East or West version.

Where it gets confusing is only parts of Main and St. Francis are two-way with the majority being one-way at least in the core downtown area although it extends a fair amount North and South one-way. There is a section between Hydraulic (North/South two-way) and Washington (two-way North/South – not to be confused with George Washington Boulevard about two miles east of Washington) where the streets North of Douglas are named after cities and states and the streets South of Douglas are named after some of Wichita Founding Parents’ children. It gets worse as the train tracks between Harry and Mount Vernon (both two-way East/West streets), moves the children named streets west of the railroad tracks in ways that don’t follow how the streets should normally progress in a North/South direction. They tend to be a block or so West of where they should be.

To make matters worse, when you cross one of the several rivers in town, an East/West street may get renamed. For example, East Lincoln once you cross the river far enough, it becomes McCormick. That’s because the street west of downtown Wichita used to be part of a different town. However, this is haphazard as some streets retain the same name.

Then you have streets that merge because some street designer decided to reroute streets. For example, Park Place merges into Main around 17th Street North.

Let’s just learning to drive in Wichita was a challenge when I first moved here. I did volunteer driving for a nonprofit when I first moved here to learn the streets. It came in handy as there are a few oddball streets like Park Place/Main where a street changes names as you travel it. Other streets may start and stop at intermittent points.



About ICT Genealogist

Originally from Gulfport, Mississippi. Live in Wichita, Kansas now. I suffer Bipolar I, ultra-ultra rapid cycling, mixed episodes. Blog on a variety of topics - genealogy, DNA, mental health, among others. Let's
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