City officials plan to show merchants and citizens proposed sidewalk and parking changes to downtown Duluth. Councilwoman Marsha Bomar suggested the “practice day” at the Duluth City Council work session Monday (Jan. 28).
Proposed are widening the elevated brick sidewalk that runs in front of some Main Street stores by filling in the projecting triangles, adding a lower sidewalk, and turning the vertical parking slots into parallel spaces.
This would result in the loss of about five of the 18 parking spaces in front of the stores. The parallel spaces would be approximately 10 feet by 20 feet or could be made larger to make parallel parking easier. The handicapped parking spot at one end would remain.
Adding three sets of stairs to the two that exist at each end of the elevated sidewalk would improve access from the street for shoppers. A six-inch-high curb would separate the lower sidewalk from the street. A decorative barrier would keep pedestrians from falling from the upper to the lower sidewalk.
The upper sidewalk would be widened to 14 to 16 feet. The lower sidewalk would be 5 to 7 feet in width.
Widening the sidewalk would allow more room for outdoor dining, vendor displays, artisan demonstrations and performing street artists to complement a proposed revitalization of downtown.
On a slow day or a Monday, when most downtown stores are closed, Bomar suggested setting out orange cones and other visuals “so everyone can see what it would look like.”
City council members looked at a rough map of the proposed changes and discussed them at the work session. They informally agreed to hold the “practice day” before putting the proposed changes on a regular meeting agenda for action.
City Manager Tim Shearer said the "practice day" would be announced in advance.