Background. Sheridan is blessed with a vibrant and energetic historic downtown, but as with many small towns whose Main Street also functions as a state highway, the roadway section was designed with vehicular traffic and parking as a focus. Sheridan’s lifestyle driven populace emphasizes the importance of a pedestrian environment, with safe and active movement through the city and surrounding areas. Providing inclusive and accessible streetscapes and transportation facilities is important to maintaining the quality of life and level of service that Sheridan residents find so attractive. The City of Sheridan would like to make the downtown a destination for people of all ages, and is already working on incentives for infill development, including encouraging the redevelopment of the second and third floors of many downtown buildings. The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) has the reconstruction of Main Street in the State Transportation Improvement Plan, scheduled to begin in 2023. The City is hoping to utilize this upcoming project as an opportunity to explore ways Main Street can be reshaped into a multimodal roadway with expanded pedestrian areas that will make people feel safe and welcome in the downtown.
Project Overview. Project partners envision downtown Main Street, from 5th Street to Burkitt Street, as becoming a walkable, vibrant corridor that enhances the economy and supports appropriate downtown redevelopment. The Sheridan City Council, together with the Downtown Sheridan Association, has begun to implement a successful program of downtown development incentives, demonstrating a strong opportunity for Main Street to support further business growth. WYDOT has proposed a resurfacing project for the downtown Main Street corridor, from Burkitt Street to Dow Street, scheduled for 2023. This presents an opportunity to both improve the streetscape to achieve the city’s economic development goals while meeting the safety and mobility requirements that WYDOT has for the corridor.
As the 2023 resurfacing project approaches, project partners want to bring together a variety of stakeholders to build consensus on a vision for Main Street that respects all entities’ needs and goals for the corridor. Project partners want to understand what could possibly be added to the resurfacing project to increase bicycle and pedestrian mobility and support downtown businesses, as well as understand how some of these elements could be tested through “lighter, quicker, cheaper” methods and could be funded to become permanent improvements.
Project Goals. Completion of three primary goals will determine project success:
1) Working directly with citizens, business owners and project partners, cultivate a vision for Main Street between Burkitt and 5th Streets that focuses on streetscape improvements that will foster downtown economic development, support appropriate redevelopment, increase bicycle and pedestrian mobility, and increase connections to recreational amenities.
2) Deliver recommendations for implementation, including “lighter, quicker, cheaper” methods and potential funding sources, for how desired improvements can realistically be achieved.
3) Assist project partners in building and sustaining community enthusiasm for transformation along Main Street with easily achievable placemaking recommendations.
Project Objectives. Core objectives associated with the project include:
— Establish a community-driven vision for the downtown portion of Main Street. Landowners and businesses abutting the downtown portion of Main Street have a direct stake in the outcome of this project and will need to be engaged throughout. The Downtown Sheridan Association serves the interests of this area and will be a key partner and should work alongside the City to achieve necessary engagement. Pre-site visit engagements to educate and energize area business owners and residents will be conducted. Site visit public engagement and education efforts like focus groups, surveys, mini-charrettes and neighborhood meetings will all be considered, with an emphasis on gaining community input on placemaking opportunities.
— Deliver recommendations for streetscape improvements. Analyze WYDOT’s priorities for Main Street, including the existing and projected traffic flow needs, to understand how bicycle and pedestrian mobility improvements can realistically be incorporated. Work collaboratively with both local entities and WYDOT to prepare design recommendations that can improve the streetscape for mobility and economic development while meeting WYDOT’s requirements.
— Assess placemaking opportunities and viability of implementation. Understanding today’s funding landscape is crucial to achieving the improvements that project partners hope to see within the downtown. Community enthusiasm will be critical to sustaining drive for improvements, thus project partners would like recommendations to include both near-term (“lighter, quicker, cheaper”) and long-term strategies for implementation.