Phase One Of Downtown Construction Project Completed

The Cities Goal Is To Improve Pedesrtian Walkability

The construction signs are gone.

New concrete, benches and bike racks are taking their place.

The first phase of a road project in downtown Sioux Falls that began back in 2014 is complete, and businesses are already noticing a difference.

“Busted up boulevards, it was a little discolored; the areas just weren’t as open,” says McKenzie River Assistant General Manager Jessie Schanzenbach, as he describes how the outside of the restaurant looked when they opened back in November.

But now, “we added a lot of area and just beauty to what is downtown Sioux Falls.”

The new look comes from the completion to the first phase of the Main Avenue Road Diet reconstruction project.

“The goals were to try to calm the traffic and try to improve the pedestrian environment while still keeping traffic moving,” says City of Sioux Falls Public Works Director Mark Cotter.

The City expanded sidewalk curbs to make the streets a little smaller.

The curb expansion allows the crosswalks to be shorter, making it easier and quicker for pedestrians to cross.

“It really gets the pedestrian out there further too,” says Cotter. “So vehicles naturally kind of calm down. We’ve actually calmed the traffic out here by about 10 percent of their normal speed.”

The construction also added bike racks and extra parking.

“It stopped a little bit of the traffic that would have been coming into our front door, but I think it also added to the traffic, people coming to see what was going on downtown,” adds Schanzenbach.

Even though the word diet is in the project, the assistant general manager says the reconstruction will benefit those who are ready to eat, but may have to wait a bit.

“There’s areas to congregate and for really just walking downtown in general just adds a lot to it.”

Phase two of the construction project will add the same elements along Main Avenue from 6th to 8th Streets and then from 12th to 14th Streets.

The Main Avenue Diet reconstruction project started as a pilot project.

After the three month trial period, the Sioux Falls City Council approved permanent changes.