Maybe it’s pie in the sky, but the right ingredients could transform South Main Street into a thriving commercial district. A consultant with LaQuatra Bonci has mapped out a new look for the corridor. The plan banks on new-found aesthetic appeal to create a sense of place, which in turn will make South Main a destination drawing both stores and shoppers.
Problem: Dilapidated buildings, shuttered storeffronts.
Challenge: The prospect of new commercial development is hindered by the ugly appearance and asphalt overload.
Solution: “Green the corridor” with street trees and a planted median.
Problem: How many lanes?
Challenge: The wider the road, the more land that gets lopped off the front of adjacent properties. The resulting lot could be too small to fit anything on. But too few lanes may not support future traffic should it increase substantially.
Solution: Two lanes, except the 0.4-mile stretch in front of Super Walmart between Allens Creek and Hyatt Creek.
Problem: Unfriendly for pedestrians
Challenge: Pedestrian activity can be a magnet for commercial revitalization.
Solution: Create a pedestrian boulevard by installing cross walks, sidewalks and bike lanes.
Problem: Traffic passes through without stopping on its way from point A to point B.
Challenge: South Main lacks a sense of place, giving motorists no reason to slow down or to see South Main as a destination.
Solution: An entrance feature, such as public art piece, to set the stage, along with pedestrian scale lighting and benches.
Challenge: Stoplights require extra turning lanes for cars to queue up in while waiting for the light to change, but the extra turn lanes mean more asphalt and run counter to the street’s new character.
Solution: Use roundabouts instead, which do double duty as a convenient U-turn spot, since the street would have medians preventing left turns in and out of businesses.