In the spirit of State of the State reporting, heres what on tap for downtown.
The Florida Road project will soon be completed, improving inbound access to downtown by vehicles and bicycles.
The recent installation of wayfinding signs downtown both promotes our attractions and directs wandering motorists and pedestrians effectively to their destinations. This summer, more signs will be used to direct people to Fort Lewis College, the Community Concert Hall at FLC, Center of Southwest Studies and Hillcrest Golf Course from both College Avenue and Florida Road.
Several initiatives have the potential to better the parking situation.
Promoting cleaner commuting is paying off. Transit system ridership continues to grow annually at a double-digit rate and bicycle commuting is expanding. Last summers experimental program of converting a parking space into a 12-bicycle parking space will be cautiously expanded. Also, additional end-of-block bicycle racks will be added. The Business Improvement District will be sponsoring extended summer evening hours of the free Trolley, allowing downtown access without a car.
BID is also proposing a plan to make more parking spaces available downtown in the evenings and weekends. Currently, downtown has more than 6,000 parking spaces, but 4,500 are off-street and privatized. The plan would provide a standardized signage system and parking guidelines to better communicate parking availability after business hours.
Pedestrians will appreciate new Dismount Zone sidewalk surface symbols alerting bicycle and skateboard riders to walk their rides. No Bicycles placards will come down. City-sponsored flower barrels and the annual Downtown Clean-Up day will return on May 27. BID has also contracted for 20 weeks of sidewalk power-washing.
In the fall, the city will resume repairing and replacing broken, heaved and unsafe portions of downtowns sidewalks.
The Public Art Commission has produced a new walking map of downtown art and sculpture. BID will reprint its Downtown Business Locator Map with quantities increased to nearly 100,000 copies and distributed in racks throughout Southwest Colorado. The 700 block Public Information Kiosk will reopen by Memorial Day. The two BID Business Directories at both ends of Main Avenue are being updated.
The drop in city sales tax is rebounding with three consecutive monthly gains. February numbers for January receipts are up 8.9 percent and year-to-date is up 7.1 percent. Inside the numbers, the downtown is outperforming the rest of the city. Main Avenue storefronts that have gone dark in the last year are coming alive with new building owners, new retail offerings and the return of retailers from the past. Benchmark lodging properties report strong advance group reservations.
The special calendar is overflowing. Great entertainment is already booked into local downtown theaters and the Community Concert Hall. Mark dates now for the Durango Wine Experience, May 5-7, Gallery Walk on May 13 and Taste of Durango on May 15.
email@example.com. Bob Kunkel is the downtown business development manager for the city of Durango.