Road project will reduce 21st Street South to three lanes

Possible changes to 21st St

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Birmingham city councilors say a particular stretch of 21st Street is a troublemaker.

“Essentially no pedestrian or bicyclist accessibility there. There’s even a worn footpath on the side of the street where people are attempting to walk,” says Transportation Board Chair and Birmingham City Councilor Darrell O’Quinn.

The plan is to reduce the four traffic lanes to two, with a turn lane down the center and a multi-use space for bikers and pedestrians.

The project starts at 15th Avenue South and will end at Valley Avenue. In addition to helping those who like to bike and walk, O’Quinn says drivers will benefit from the changes.

“We currently see quite a significant number of crashes, particularly at the bend at the top. We’ve had cars go over the guardrail there, or into the guardrail.”

The plan does take away a lane, but it will also widen the existing lane right at that point, almost doubling in size.

“The traffic lanes currently now are really too narrow. That inside lane up against the retaining wall is only eight and a half feet wide.”

But will cutting the number of lanes in half hurt traffic? O’Quinn doesn’t think so.

“Sometimes you have to rely on experience from other places, other projects and move forward with confidence that it’s going to work out OK.”

They are currently in the design phase now, the plan to start construction in the next several months. They hope to finish the project before the end of 2020.

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