City planners teamed up with economic development organizations to formulate a plan to improve the Third Street shopping and pedestrian experience.

With the Wyoming Department of Transportation scheduled to resurface Third Street in 2020, members of the Laramie Main Street Alliance, Laramie Business Chamber Alliance and Laramie Planning Division met for the first time Jan. 25 as 3, 2, 1 … 3rd Street!, a committee tasked with planning projects to coincide with the resurfacing project.

“It started out as the Third Street Committee,” Main Street Program Coordinator Carly-Ann Anderson said. “The core group started meeting in November 2015. But I think we are starting to morph into 3, 2, 1 … 3rd Street!”

Using a technical assistance grant, Anderson said the committee hired New Mobility West Consultant Group to help develop an action plan that could be adopted by the Laramie City Council as a guiding document for future Third Street development in the downtown district.

“We think the street could be better looking and better planned,” Anderson said.

“Now that we have businesses on both sides, we want it to feel like you’re shopping downtown not on (a) freeway.”

With projects such as WYDOT repairing and resurfacing Third Street, American with Disabilities Act improvements, repairs to storm drains and plans to demolish the Clark Street viaduct affecting Third Street traffic, Anderson said the committee was working to get ahead of the construction with a viable plan for developing a safer pedestrian environment on Third Street as well as beautifying the area.

“The Third Street Corridor holds two gateways to our community,” said Mayor Andi Summerville, who worked with the committee on the action plan. “Downtown is one of our busiest pedestrian areas. It’s important for the city to look at safety, traffic improvements and beautification along the corridor as it hasn’t been done in a long time.”

The committee’s action plan will give Laramie the opportunity to work with WYDOT on adding designated turning lanes to Third Street and improving its intersections and parking, Summerville said.

The action plan, which included a public input process, identified community goals for Third Street:

— Increased pedestrian and bicycle activity

— Increased sense of pedestrian safety

— Additional street trees, public art, street furniture and landscaping

— Business expansion

— Decline in (automobile accidents)

— Slower traffic speeds

— Increase in sales tax revenues

“We identified Third Street as a major barrier to pedestrian traffic,” Anderson said. “And, we’d love to see more trees on third. Our goal is a more walkable, shoppable street.”

The committee is scheduled to present the action plan to City Council on Feb. 14 with the goal of adding it to the city’s work plan, she said.

“We really want to show (the council) what the consultants brought back to us,” Anderson said. “We’re all invested in this to make sure the downtown looks as good as possible.”

(3) comments

Ernest Bass
Ernest Bass

This project is just another proposed enormous boondoggle being championed by failing downtown shopkeepers. One of the first steps is going to be spending $200,000 for a “conceptual design.” The “Final Design” will cost much more. Included in this fantasy are gateway treatments (two landscaped islands in the center of 3rd Street), accent plantings, tons of public art, new street lights (again?), planters, brick paving, bike racks, BUS STOPS (yes), street furniture, curb extensions, landscaping, wider sidewalks, pedestrian gathering areas on street corners, small open space area/public activity center/plaza (like Jodi’s plaza), kiosks, new building facades, building canopies, and much more. There is even talk of a pedestrian mall on Grand between 1st and 2nd Streets – you know, “like Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall.” The publication, called “3-2-1 Third Street!”, is available for viewing on the Laramie Main Street website.

When will taxpayers say “enough already”? When will spending tens of millions of dollars on failed economic development projects end (railroad spur, anyone?). When will it become apparent that empty business parks and empty office buildings are a waste of money? When will local businesses start to pay for their own costly schemes and end their parasitic reliance on taxpayer funding?

Royal Coachman
Royal Coachman

It's fantastic to see this planning/project finally really underway.

We're close to having one of the most vibrant downtowns in the state -- probably next to Jackson, which has unique circumstances -- and Third Street is the final piece of the puzzle. Third Street was designed decades ago to do only one thing: move traffic. That now makes it a barrier for our downtown, a barrier to a welcoming, pedestrian-friendly environment that will allow the Downtown to grow.

Everyone in this town will benefit from this project. Godspeed.

Ernest Bass
Ernest Bass

“Third Street was designed decades ago to do only one thing: move traffic.” Duh. Probably because it is a U.S. highway.

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