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Driving On A Diet

July 18, 2014, 5:56 PM by Perry Groten

Driving On A Diet
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

Some downtown Sioux Falls drivers are finding the new road diet on Main Avenue a little hard to swallow.  They say traffic is getting worse now that Main Avenue has been trimmed-down from three lanes to two.

Main Avenue has slimmed-down by replacing parallel parking with angled parking. The idea is to create a wider buffer zone for people on foot. But some drivers say making Main Avenue more pedestrian-friendly comes at the expense of those behind the wheel.

Traffic along Main Avenue is merging road dieting with driving and many people think the change of appetite will improve this part of downtown Sioux Falls.

"I think it will increase better flow-through of traffic, safer for pedestrians and it's visually appealing, it looks great," Laura Zumhofe of Sioux Falls said.

But other Main Avenue drivers think eliminating a third lane of traffic will create too many bottlenecks during peak driving times.

"I've sat through three red lights already to get this far, so I'm wondering the heavy traffic limited to two lanes may cause problems in the future," Reggie Schenk of Sioux Falls said.

But City officials say drivers in a hurry can go off the road diet.

"As you squeeze things down and you will slow cars down and I think some cars who still want to get in and out as fast as they can there are alternate routes for them downtown," Director of Community Development Darrin Smith said.

Cars backing out of the new diagonal parking spots might also test drivers' patience.

"There will be some adjustments in people backing up as opposed to people being in parallel, any adjustment takes time," Director of Public Works Mark Cotter said.

City leaders are quick to point the changes along Main Avenue are still a work in progress and that traffic flows can be tweaked to keep cars moving safely and smoothly.

The Main Avenue road diet is on a test run through October. The City is asking for your input on how to make improvements. To take the city survey, click here.

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