Motorists who frequent greater downtown Birmingham by driving into town along Richard Arrington, Jr. Boulevard have long known of a “secret” to get from it to 20th Street just before the area known as “The Cut” without having to cross the Rainbow Viaduct into the city center — meaning you didn’t have to battle with the traffic light sequence heading northbound on 20th from Red Mountain. The left turn onto 1st Avenue South is used less and less though nowadays and signs visible today at the intersection of Arrington and 1st Ave. S. are letting them know those days will soon come to an end.
As the sign contained in the image accompanying this post says, effective Monday, December 15, that one block, also known in recent years as Block 121 for development purposes, will be converted from being a two-way stretch to being eastbound only (read: no left turn). The move does make a great deal of sense as “The Cut” is set to see the completion of its conversion into the western end of the Rotary Trail, making the block safer for pedestrians and they enter and exit the outdoor space. It also makes sense considering recent comments from the new owners of Station 121, the apartment complex formerly called Cityville that sits on the southwest corner of that intersection.
Back when representatives from Wicker Park Capital Management (the company that purchased the property in April) presented the proposed exterior changes to the building to the city’s Design Review Committee earlier this year, they said they were close to securing leases for several of its commercial spaces. Those lease announcements are still pending, but the free parking available for those patronizing those storefronts are accessed via 1st Avenue South. The conversion should make it easier for cars to enter and exit the deck.