Traffic is moving a bit slower on South Main Street in Gainesville, which is a good thing, if you ask members of the Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency.
The CRA has officially started what will be a yearlong renovation project expected to revitalize a major roadway leading to the downtown area, all the while creating a safer corridor.
“What this is going to do is it’s going to create a more friendly corridor for pedestrians and non-motor vehicles,” said David Arreola, a city commissioner and a CRA board member.
A lane going each way remains open, as do entrances to popular businesses along the stretch, like First Magnitude Brewing. Construction is expected to wrap up in December 2018.
The $8.5 million project, approved by the CRA board in July, will cover a nearly mile-long stretch from South 16th Avenue to a roundabout in front of the Cade Museum on Depot Avenue. The street will be renovated with landscaped medians, adding close to 200 trees, 50 parking spaces and a couple bike lanes to let riders easily visit nearby businesses.
When it’s done, about 1.25 acres of green space is expected to be added, along with nearly 200 trees. CRA Project Manager Andrew Meeker said the green space improvement will help with stormwater runoff.
Pedestrians and bicyclists could see benefits, including slower traffic speeds, bike lanes, improved pedestrian crossing lights and crosswalks, a water bottle filling station and a bike repair stand with an air pump.