Main Avenue is getting a makeover. Sioux Falls City crews began work today on the street they hope will benefit everyone who visits downtown.
It's called the Main Avenue Road Diet. A plan that will cut the three lanes of traffic on this street down to just two.
"It's being done for a variety of reasons, when we were having the meetings for the Downtown 2025 plans, a lot of the comments came from the public wanting to make the area more pedestrian friendly," City Traffic Engineer Heath Hoftiezer said.
Crews are turning the parallel parking on Main Avenue's east side into diagonal parking.
"When we go from the parallel parking spots to angled parking spots, it just about doubles the amount of parking on the east side of the road," Hoftiezer said.
That means the biking lane has been moved to the west side of the street to keep bicyclists safe.
The Main Avenue Road Diet will also allow establishments including Parker's Bistro to have more seating tables outside.
For now, the City is temporarily marking those areas with paint and will be adding planters and other beautified barriers to keep customers away from the traffic.
"The expansion will probably add eight to 10 outside tables for us, we'll probably hire one or two more servers just to take care of that volume, so we're all going to work a little bit harder," Ken Jacobs of Parker's Bistro said.
At this point, the Main Avenue Road Diet is just a pilot study to see how well it works for the remainder of this summer. If the comments are positive, the City will reconstruct Main Avenue to look more like Phillips Avenue does now.
"There's no reason why everything has to happen on Phillips Avenue, we're a part of downtown as well and it seems like we're a little bit cut off from everything that happens over there," Jacobs said.
The city is planning a news conference for Friday to provide details about the pilot project.