The City of Lewiston will be resurfacing Main Street in June 2017. This project gives us a chance to test narrower driving lane widths and diagonal parking before committing to how we want to re-stripe Main Street after the new surface is put down.
The week of April 9 through early June.
The Pilot Project tests narrower driving lanes and diagonal parking within the existing curbs and planters of Main Street. If we decide to permanently implement the narrower driving lanes and diagonal parking, some existing concrete planters between 7th and New 6th Streets may be removed in order to expand the space for diagonal parking.
A final decision will be made by the City Council, with input from BDL, based on community feedback and data gathered during the Pilot Project period. We’ll gather data on the number of pedestrians on the sidewalks, number of vehicles that use the parking, traffic speeds and traffic crashes.
Many downtown businesses have expressed interest in returning Main Street to two-way traffic, which would also slow traffic speeds, increase pedestrian safety and provide better exposure to businesses. The Pilot Project was unable to try two-way traffic on Main Street because of the costs of modifying the traffic signals at street intersections and the intersection in front of the Blue Bridge at 1st and Main. Two-way traffic is remains possible, just more expensive to implement right now.
The 2015 Main and D Corridor Study gathered community feedback on a long-term modification of Main Street that contemplated major street reconstruction. The 2017 Pilot Project is gathering community feedback about narrower driving lanes and diagonal parking through a Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper approach introduced by the Project for Public Spaces. In short, it’s a “try it before you buy it” test-drive. Total costs for the Pilot Project are under $20,000.
We hear from business owners and community members that traffic speeds downtown are too fast and make the area uninviting to pedestrians. The narrower driving lanes included in the Pilot Project will slow traffic speeds.
The Pilot Project will introduce diagonal parking on Lewiston’s Main Street for the first time. If the community is favorable to the project we could remove some of the concrete planters for even more parking.
The 2007 Downtown Parking Plan noted that each parking space in front of a business translates to $17,000 to $20,000 per year in retail sales. The same parking study indicated that most customers will not walk more than 400 feet from a parking space to the front door of the business they intend to visit. Unless a customer walks through a business, the section of Main Street selected for the Pilot Project is outside of the 400-foot walking distance to the F Street public parking lot.
Remember, this is a test phase. We’re trying nose-in and back-in parking to gather community feedback about which kind of diagonal parking our community prefers. There are pros and cons of each design:
It’s best to have long stretches of curb line when implementing diagonal parking. Each interruption in the curb sacrifices parking space for driver line-of-sight areas. This section of Main Street has long stretches of uninterrupted curb line, especially if we decide to remove the planters with permanent implementation of the project.