West Main Street in downtown Farmington is populated with gift shops, restaurants, home furnishing stores, and offices.
But like many other downtown areas in cities across the country, what the street lacks is an abundance of pedestrian traffic, a deficit even more noticeable at night when downtown Farmington sometimes seems deserted.
In response city leaders, who have long wondered how to make the street and larger downtown more vibrant, have embraced a program known simply as Complete Streets, which takes a more comprehensive approach to what’s needed on West Main.
That program, still in the planning stages, is offering such ideas as transforming what is now a four-lane thoroughfare into a two-lane road with tree-lined roundabouts installed at several points on the street designed to slow down traffic.
Also suggested is the building of a bike path and installation of wider sidewalks.
City officials have said that a revitalization of the street will also include the updating of electrical infrastructure and waste and sewer systems.
The revitalization project is expected to cost at least $10 million, most of which will be funded through the refinancing of bonds.
A refiguring and repurposing of downtown Farmington was identified in a report published in 2009 called the Metropolitan Redevelopment Area Plan. That document viewed an increase in pedestrian traffic as an essential revitalizing component.
More details regarding the Complete Streets plans are expected to be revealed later this spring.
Actual construction work on West Main could begin sometime early next year.
By Garry Boulard
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