SOUTH PORTLAND — A hotly contested one-way stretch of downtown Ocean Street will be converted to two-way traffic with parallel parking on both sides, the City Council decided Monday night.

In May, a public works crew will re-stripe the section of Ocean Street between D and E streets, allowing two-way traffic to flow again through the center of the Knightville neighborhood, said City Manager Jim Gailey.

After more than two hours of intense testimony from residents and business owners, the council voted 4-2 to convert 15 angled parking spaces (including one motorcycle space) on the west side of Ocean Street to nine regular parallel spaces.

Last month, six of seven councilors indicated they would support changing the one-way section to two-way traffic.

“This isn’t a knee-jerk reaction. We’ve been there. We’ve hashed it out,” said Councilor Patti Smith, who voted for the two-way along with councilors Claude Morgan, Eben Rose and Maxine Beecher.

Smith said the city should go with the two-way traffic pattern that engineers originally recommended as the best option for the whole neighborhood, not just one section.

The angled spaces were included in a 2012 road and sewerage improvement project at the urging of some business owners who wanted convenient parking.

Councilor Linda Cohen and Mayor Tom Blake voted against the change, saying that the one-way section with angled parking works for both business owners and residents.

“We’ll be back here as Knightville grows,” Blake said. “We’re in a no-win situation up here.”

Councilor Brad Fox left Monday’s meeting before the one-way issue came up.

The council heard testimony Monday from a wide variety of residents and business owners who either supported or opposed changing the one-way section to two-way traffic.

“One-way is the right way. Let’s keep it that way,” said Jeannie Dunnigan, owner of Cia Cafe, which is next to the one-way section.

Don Hale, a resident of Anchorage Place in Knightville, spoke in favor of two-way traffic. He said some residents avoid shopping in Knightville because of the traffic pattern.

“They’re losing business because of (the one-way section),” Hale said.

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