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Downtown redevelopment and traffic calming

I am interested in finding examples of downtown areas that have been positively affected by narrowing the width of the main street. So many downtowns today have main thoroughfares with Daytona Sppedway style multi-lane expressways running through them. Traffic engineers have held sway over economic development, creating traffic patterns that maximize traffic speed and flow, while minimizing available on-street parking, safe pedestrian/bicycle spaces and windowshopping. Narrowing the street from four, five or even six lanes down to two or three wide lanes slows traffic, therefore increasing opportunities for commuters to notice reasons to stop and shop. It also increases sidewalk width and available on-street parking, creating a safe, pedestrian environment. Please let me know of towns and cities that have successfully employed this strategy. Please include methods, strategies and activities they employed to achieve this goal

mike gurnee

downtown redevelopment

Do not be so quick to blame traffic engineers. Educate the merchants and property owners that slow is good for business. Slow is pedestrian friendly. Slow is safe. Slow is inconvenient for through traffic--which should be someplace else anyway. My current midwest community blocked the main street to through traffic in the 70s. We have problems, but pedestrian safety is not one of them. I have not experienced a narrowing, but tried in my last position. The downtown organization wanted to reduce a 4 lane main street to 2 with angle parking. As a designated u.s. route, the state engineers would not allow it. They would give up the route designation if the local gov't would take on maintenance responsibility. The answer came down to money, and the locals refused. Also the police did not want angle parking. In resopnse to your query, look up "traffic calming" on this message board and on the net. Much of the information concerns residential areas, but here and there you can find info on commercial applications.
When local businesses and taxpayers want something, it gets done. We planners are just (pick a label) without community support. Our good intentions are nothing without support from an educated public. It may take years, but that comes with the turf.