Press Release: Transforming Third Street
On May 19th, just one month after the City declared a State of Emergency, the City Council approved Resolution 2020-24 temporarily transforming Third Street into a one-way street, with traffic in the center of the road heading west, from Franklin street to Muckelemi Street. As the City’s businesses re-open under State Guidelines for safe distancing, many are restricted to opening just 25% of their capacity. By transforming Third Street, business owners will be able to expand and use 10-feet of space on the street in front of their business. This will help businesses on Third Street recover more quickly from the effects of the State’s shelter in place order. The transformation is authorized for 6-months, but could be extended if necessary.
Business owners and the City worked together to identify the best solution to help them re-establish their customer base. In April, the City established the Disaster Relief Community Liaison position, and a “business task force” was formed. More than 20 businesses attend these meetings to share ideas that help them re-open to the public. The decision to close a lane of traffic on Third Street is the result of this hard work.
On Monday morning, beginning at 7:00 a.m., the City’s contractor will begin to re-stripe the street by removing the existing paint. The new street striping will create a center lane, two two-foot boundaries, leaving the private space between the remaining center space and the sidewalk (10 feet) for businesses to use. The paint will be water based so as not to be difficult to remove at a later date.
At their June 2nd meeting, the Historic Resources Board considered design standards for the temporary establishment of business spaces on the right-of-way. Resolution 2018-65 created design standards for Historic Third Street that are intended to enhance and preserve the historic nature of the small-town feel. These design standards have established a uniform “Block Face” for each of the four-block closings, allowing the north-south traffic to continue to flow, using natural wood and wine barrels to block traffic and create a safe space. They suggest furniture types, and establish safety guidelines to be followed for tables, chairs and umbrellas.
To roll this out as quickly as possible, the design and actual implementations of this Transformation are considered fluid in nature. Changes will be made incrementally to assure the aesthetics and safety are paramount and maintained throughout.