Now that the restoration of Gay Street into a two-way street is almost finished, I think it’s time to figure out where the next conversion should be. I know the city has plans to restore quite a few of the downtown one-way thoroughfares back into pedestrian-friendly, landscaped boulevards that will invite people to do more than just drive downtown, but which one should be next on the agenda?
My vote is for Main Street.
If you’re unfamiliar, Main Street serves as a four-to-five-lane expressway headed east from the riverfront to Grant Avenue where it shifts into a two-way street. Of all the streets downtown, why would I pick this one?
- The Main Street Bridge (Dispatch Article with Rendering | Live Update Cameras) is currently under construction and is expected to be opened in 2009. What better way to accompany our new one-of-a-kind landmark bridge than with a newly revamped Main Street? And the 2009 completion date means that we still have plenty to get Main Street updated.
- There are thriving local businesses located on Main Street that could use the extra attention. Several of the entrepreneurs there have banded together to create The Red Brick District on Main. A little bit of streetscaping could do a lot to help them out. Even though the City Center has sunk, Main Street still manages to thrive with clothing boutiques, jewelry stores, a 160-year-old hardware store, art galleries, restaurants, and the new addition of multiple condo developments.
- Proximity to a NEW City Center. Main Street runs along the southern end of the City Center Parking Garage. Whatever winds up being done with the City Center is going to need to be something important and sustainable to thrive downtown. And all of the streets and sidewalks around it could stand a bit of an upgrade.
- Proximity to the new courthouse building. Main Street runs along the northern end of the new courthouse building that will be completed in 2010. New street level features will be included in the development of this building, and Main Street deserves the two-way makeover treatment to go along with it.
- To connect neighborhoods. Main Street runs from Franklinton, through the RiverSouth area, over to Franklin University, the southern end of the Discovery District, the Market Exchange District, and adjacent to TownFranklin. For such an important connector street to only serve as an east-bound route does little to glue those neighborhoods together.
So there you have it. Main Street has my vote. What street could be a better choice than that?