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June 20, 2014 10:10 PM

Main Avenue Makeover

Sioux Falls, SD

In just a few weeks, Main Avenue in Sioux Falls between 6th and 14th Streets will shrink by one lane.  The Main Avenue Diet is the City's plan to attract more businesses to the street and make Main feel more like Phillips Avenue.

As many as 5,000 cars zoom down Main Avenue a day.  This three-lane, one-way street has 700 cars on it at its peak at 5 p.m.  But a new City plan is about to slow it down and hopefully boost business at the same time.

"And really we just want to run it for a couple of months, see how the traffic patterns work, see if the pedestrians and businesses are receptive," Sioux Falls Economic Development Manager Brent O'Neil said.

The Main Avenue diet will start out as a pilot project, removing the eastern most lane and adding parking and pedestrian space.

For now the curbs will stay in place, but at each intersection the City will paint orange, all the way through the first lane of traffic and then line the bump outs with planters, much like the ones you see on Phillips Ave. 

"I would imagine it could come out to here," Nick Weiland with Parker's Bistro said.

In front of Parker's Bistro, the City will construct a pocket park with a raised surface and room for the restaurant to add another three to four tables.

"When summertime hits it usually drags us down a little bit because we don't have nice patio; get a nice patio, we're hoping that a whole bunch of people come in and have dinner outside," Weiland said.

"It will have more parking, which will be great. With the expanded sidewalk, we can do paintings outside; on those nice summer days, we can enjoy that and teach a couple of classes outside," Stephanie Rinne of Creative Spirits said.

The painting studio Creative Spirits and the City are both hoping these changes bring more business to Main Avenue.   The former Young & Richards Flower Shop has sat vacant for more than a year.

"And we know there's other talk of restaurants opening on Main Avenue and we really think something like this will support those businesses really well," O'Neil said.

"Hopefully, those extra businesses down here, before they come and paint with us, they can go out to eat or afterwards go out for drinks, or anything like that. It will be great to have more businesses down here," Rinne said.

One thing that won't change is the direction of the traffic.  Main will remain a one way for now.

The cost of the pilot project is under $10,000.  The City will put out a survey to get feedback and if it's popular, the project will be permanent.

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