Main Street plans unveiled, unfunded

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SANDPOINT — City officials have plans on the books for renovations to Main Street — just don’t expect them to be constructed any time soon.

In a late September meeting, council members voted to send Main Street corridor improvement plans to the Planning Commission for further consideration. However, with no money in sight for the project, it will likely remain unrealized for the foreseeable future until funding sources are identified.

City officials initiated a study concerning a section of Main Street between Boyer and Division avenues in the 2011 budget. In response, the city hired consultants Ruen-Yeager and Associates to evaluate potential improvements to the street.

After talking with owners of apartments, houses and businesses along the street, Ruen-Yeager and Associates engineers crafted two separate concepts — the Greenway option and the Circulation option.

The Greenway option aims to calm traffic by disconnecting Main Street from Boyer Avenue and establishing a roundabout at Cedar and Boyer. The plan also emphasized green spaces, with a priority set on establishing a pleasant and eye-catching residential area, according to engineer Eric Olson.

On the other hand, the Circulation option focuses on improving the cluttered intersections between Ella and Florence avenues. It uses a roundabout at Cedar and Main and another at Florence Avenue to sort out traffic more effectively.

Sandpoint residents agreed that something eventually needs to be done about the troublesome intersection at Cedar and Boyer. Boyer resident Paul Strickley and Pastor Stanley Norman of the Sandpoint United Methodist Church both preferred the Greenway option was the best bet to improve safety, quality of life and aesthetic value in the area.    

“We’ve witnessed a number of accidents at the four-way stop at Boyer and Cedar,” Norman said. “The other thing is that to avoid that intersection, people cut through our parking lot going the wrong way all the time.”

At the recommendation of City Planner Jeremy Grimm, council members voted to send the plans to the Planning Commission for more input. The vote was unanimous, with council members Justin Schuck and Shelby Rognstad abstaining due to a conflict of interest.   

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