Laramie, Wyoming

3, 2, 1… 3rd Street

Location: Laramie, Wyoming
Descriptive Project Name: 3, 2, 1… 3rd Street
Completed Date: December 2016
Partner: Laramie Main Street Alliance


Challenge 

US Highway 287 and 30 is a major north-south route that runs through the heart of historic downtown Laramie, Wyoming (population 32,081). As the highway travels through Laramie it becomes 3rd Street. 3rd Street is currently configured as a 4-lane road with on-street parking. There are two travel lanes in both the north and south directions and no designated turn lanes at intersections. Based on available crash data, 3rd Street experiences a relatively high number of automobile accidents. This is believed to be in part due to a lack of designated turning lanes. In addition, 3rd Street has a limited number of signalized intersections that offer opportunities for pedestrians to safely cross the street.

Several major projects are planned for the downtown segment of 3rd Street over the next 4-7 years. These projects include a Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) project in 2020 that will include repair and resurfacing of 3rd Street, storm drain upgrades, ADA improvements, and traffic signal and highway sign replacement. There are also plans to demolish the Clark Street viaduct, which will significantly alter traffic patterns within the corridor.

Community Builders and Charlier Associates Inc. (i.e., the CB Team) worked with local partners to explore ways that the upcoming projects could be leveraged to improve the safety and economic viability of the 3rd Street corridor for all users.  

Key Activities 

The CB Team participated in a 3 day site visit in August 2016. A number of engagement techniques were employed during the site visit to facilitate stakeholder and community involvement in crafting a shared vision, goals, design solutions, strategic implementation actions and success metrics for the 3rd Street corridor. These included:

Walking Tour: The CB team, along with staff from the City of Laramie, WYDOT, University of Wyoming and Laramie Main Street Alliance, conducted a walking tour of 3rd Street to observe and understand existing conditions.

Stakeholder Sessions: The CB team and staff from the Laramie Main Street Alliance conducted focus group sessions with the following stakeholders:

  • WYDOT
  • Business and Property Owners
  • Bike/Pedestrian Advocates
  • Community Partners (e.g., Laramie Main Street Alliance, Albany County Tourism Board and Laramie Chamber Business Alliance)

These sessions enabled the CB team to hone in on key stakeholder concerns and ideas for 3rd Street.

Photo Voice: In preparation of the site visit, community members were offered the opportunity to submit photographs of streetscapes that they believed embodied their vision for 3rd Street. The photographs submitted were compiled into a slideshow, which was displayed during the public open houses. Open house attendees had the opportunity to vote on the photographs in the slideshow.

Public Open Houses: Public open houses were hosted the 2nd and 3rd evening of the site visit. The open houses offered opportunities for community members to provide their thoughts on the corridor, as well as learn about and provide feedback on the goals and design concepts being developed for 3rd Street.

Outcomes

Local partners have a step by step action plan to transform 3rd Street into a corridor that continues to serve the transportation needs of the community, while also fostering economic growth and pedestrian and bicycle safety in the city’s core.

Furthermore, the engagement between local partners and key stakeholders (that occurred during the site visit) will help cultivate collaborative partnerships between the key entities involved with the 3rd Street transformation. These partnerships are essential to the implementation of action items identified through the technical assistance.

Key Recommendations

  • 3rd Street “quick fixes” to be constructed in conjunction with WYDOT’s 2020 repair and resurfacing project. Near-term improvements (i.e., quick fixes) to be constructed include curb extensions at strategic intersections, downtown gateways and restriping of 3rd Street to create designated turn lanes. The CB team recommended that local partners engage with WYDOT as soon as possible to work on integration of these improvements with the 2020 project.
  • Community driven aesthetic enhancements along the 3rd Street corridor. The community expressed a strong desire to improve the visual appearance of 3rd Street in the downtown area. Actions identified to achieve this goal include:
    • An adopt-a-block program.
    • Shifting focus of the existing façade improvement program to 3rd Street.
    • Installation of additional public art.
    • Utilizing various tactical urbanism techniques to create public spaces/green spaces along 3rd Street and to add visual interest to side streets in Laramie’s downtown.
  • Collection of baseline data and monitoring of metrics to evaluate success of action items. The CB Team, in collaboration with local partners, established measures of success for 3rd Street, which include:
    • Increase in pedestrian and bicycle activity on 3rd Street
    • Increased sense of pedestrian safety on 3rd Street
    • Additional Street Trees, Public Art, Street Furniture, and Landscaping
    • Business Expansion
    • Decline in Crashes
    • Slower Traffic Speeds
    • Increase in Sales Tax Revenues

A variety of quantifiable metrics were identified for each measure of success. The CB Team recommended that local partners gather baseline data, in addition to on-going data, to monitor and evaluate the efficacy of implementation actions.

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