A month ago, bump-outs weren’t known in Durango. Now, bump-outs are a major part of downtown Main Avenue. Between College Drive and 11th Street, various restaurants and retailers have expanded onto about 10 feet of the avenue. Gone are the parking spaces, replaced by tables and chairs, potted plants and tent sides. On warm evenings, like we are experiencing right now, the street spaces are in use.
A coffee shop in the 700 block was first, with its morning and midday clientele, and Maria’s Bookshop’s line of greenery makes a place to sit and read, partially shaded. A couple of other shelters are constructed of heavy lumber – a Western look – but assembled so that they can be disassembled in the fall.
Some drivers may be avoiding downtown Main because of the loss of two driving lanes, but there is praise for the left-turn arrows for the center lane. It may be easier to turn left from Main now than previously.
The lost parking spaces? As a percent of total available parking, they are in the single digits. Tourism may not be at its peak, yet, this summer, and plenty of people are working at least part-time from home, but there is parking on side streets.
After only 10 days or two weeks, we consider the bump-outs to be a great success. And, a great credit to city leadership. Once the idea was suggested, designs and barricades occurred quickly – as quickly as any significant municipal changes that we can remember.
At the end of the summer, there may be a test involving eliminating all automobile traffic through a couple of blocks. What is the balance between retail and pedestrian uses and the presence of the automobile?
In the meantime, we like what has transpired. Here’s to bump-outs.