The city released a draft of its Downtown Sheridan Streetscape Action Plan Tuesday night, providing strategies and recommending actions for improving downtown in conjunction with a Wyoming Department of Transportation project planned for 2023.
The most significant decision the community will have to make is whether Main Street will remain four lanes or be reduced to two in order to allow for more sidewalk space.
Reducing Main Street to two lanes is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. Walk downtown on any given day; it’s unlikely you’ll have trouble making your way down the sidewalk. On days the sidewalks are crowded — for events like the Sheridan WYO Rodeo parade, Third Thursday Street Festivals and similar events — Main Street is already closed to accommodate the increased foot traffic.
Parking has long been cited as an issue downtown.
But when streets are closed to allow for events, more parking on Main Street will not make a difference. Parking should be added to adjacent blocks, helping those who want to participate in events and for times crowds fill the city.
Main Street acts as a major thoroughfare for our community. To reduce the road to two lanes, bottlenecking traffic, might have the opposite effect desired. It could send vehicle traffic around the downtown area rather than through it, missing the chance to entice shoppers to visit local stores.
Sheridan residents constantly express pride in downtown, and while enhancements can certainly be made, they shouldn’t aim to address a problem that doesn’t exist.