Downtown Payette’s sidewalks need attention. Many present a difficult walking surface because they are broken, worn, or have high curbs. The existing walking area also lacks appeal due to limited greenery and pedestrian-oriented lighting. Dimensionally, the 300 by 300 foot blocks are served by a 100 foot right of way with most sidewalks being generally sixteen feet in width. The sidewalk area, or streetscape, can be improved to play a major role in the downtown’s revitalization. An over-all singular identity can be established by utilizing consistent paving materials, street lights, and trees. Such a streetscape improvement would enhance the shopping and entertainment atmosphere by providing a comfortable environment and a unifying design theme throughout the downtown. As has been proven repeatedly by successful shopping centers, presentation of an attractive image is simply good business.
New sidewalk construction throughout most of the downtown is recommended to insure good pedestrian movement, improve walking safety, and provide an attractive entrance to businesses. Due to durability and cost considerations, it is recommended that scored concrete sidewalks be constructed. Figure 30 details a typical sidewalk section with two-foot by two-foot scored geometric patterns. This sidewalk standard will guarantee a uniformity of materials and finish. Utility improvements should coincide with the excavation of old sidewalks when access is available and a cost savings can be realized.
Many of the downtown’s intersections, especially along 8th Street, are redesigned in this plan to shorten the pedestrian’s street-crossing distance and unify the shopping district. This is accomplished by expanding the curb line into the street or bulbing the corners as illustrated in Figure 32. This design allows improved sight distance between the driver and the pedestrian entering the crosswalk and is beneficial in encouraging traffic to slow down. The expanded sidewalk area at the corners also offers optional uses such as additional landscaping, seating, bike racks, and other street furniture. Overall, these strategically located intersections will tie the downtown shopping area together and reduce the conflicts generated by mixing vehicles and pedestrians.
The need to improve downtown Payette’s sidewalks and streetscape is not new. As illustrated in Figure 31 a number of design options have been studied over the years to improve 8th Street. These past parking and streetscape designs were utilized to develop the proposed streetscape prototype illustrated in Figures 30 and 32. This prototype utilized Payette’s wide 100 foot street right of way to allow room for 16 foot sidewalks, the maximum number of curb side angle parking stalls and good two-way traffic circulation. Some consideration was given to a parking row in the center of the street but this option was eliminated because it meant reducing the width of the sidewalks, creating safety problems for those parking in the center, and reducing the flow of traffic utilizing 8th Street.
Efforts to improve Main Street sidewalks date back to 1967 when the city contemplated forming a Local improvement District (LID) between 3rd Avenue North and 2nd Avenue South for a Main Street Beautification project. Though not completed the proposed project was to have cost $80,792.00 and would have resulted in constructing narrower sidewalks, improving drainage and storm drains, plan-ters, shrubs, trees and a taped sound system. In 1982 the city was unsuccessful in seeking a Community Development Block Grant for $217,450.00 to install new sidewalks on 8th Street from 3rd Avenue North to 1st Avenue South. The property owners would have paid an equal amount through an LID. Again in 1985 the city was unsuccessful in receiving State CDBG funds for $97,589.00 to pay for half of an 8th Street sidewalk demonstration project located between Center Avenue and 1st Avenue North. Part of this effort involved initiating a Local Improvement District for the area. Much of the reason for not receiving the state grant funds was due to the inability of a project of this nature to create long-term job opportunities. Though the city has been frustrated in accomplishing the goal of safe and attractive sidewalks, continued efforts should prevail.
It is recommended that a phased effort be undertaken by the city to work jointly with property owners in repairing and replacing sidewalks. With this plan as a blueprint efforts should again focus on grant opportunities to supplement the costs of developing new sidewalks and streetscape improvements.
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