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When Main Streeet is a State Highway

Jim Charlier & Vickie Jacobsen, Charlier Associates

Cross posted on our Community Builders blog. “Main Streets” are iconic features of our western cities and towns. In many places, they serve as the principal corridors for local economics, culture and civic life, and as such are hugely important–not only to economic vitality and quality of life, but to the very identity of the communities they traverse.

But how should we manage the conflicts that emerge when Main Street is also a state highway? This webinar provides a framework for addressing the conflicts inherent in the various roles we ask our main streets to perform, from carrying regional traffic to serving as parade routes, from handling heavy trucks to providing access to storefront businesses. We review how main streets have been damaged by “improvements” like stripping on-street parking to provide more lanes, converting main street and a parallel corridor to “one-way pairs,” or removing street trees and narrowing sidewalks.

Using examples from around the country we describe potential mitigation and repair strategies. Are bypasses ever the right answer? Is it possible to convert one-way pairs back to two-way operation? We also review strategies and techniques for involving the public and state Departments of Transportation in consideration of alternatives that can meet state objectives for regional mobility while at the same time protecting the beating heart of our communities.

Download a PDF of the presentation here: When Main Street is a State Highway


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