Gaines Street Vision Becomes Reality
Two Way Traffic to Return Next Week
April 19, 2013
The idea of creating a destination district on Gaines Street started more than 20 years ago with a group of citizens. Spurred by this idea, the Tallahassee City Commission committed to investing in major infrastructure improvements. The construction bringing vision to reality reaches a major milestone next week when Segment II of the Gaines Street Project is completed. Equally significant, the public investment in Gaines Street has helped generate more than $128 million in new, private development in the district.
Since 2009, the City of Tallahassee has been working on infrastructure improvements including replacing aging underground utilities and reconstructing the roadway. The goal was to create a pedestrian friendly area with the necessary infrastructure to allow increased development and provide more reliable service to existing customers. The overall vision was to create a vibrant urban corridor with public art displays, businesses and live/work spaces.
To the delight of drivers, pedestrians, businesses owners and patrons who have withstood the dust, noise and traffic challenges, Gaines Street between Railroad and Woodward avenues will be reopened to two-way traffic by noon on Thursday, April 25.
To celebrate the return of two-way traffic, a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 25, on the northwest corner of the intersection at Gaines Street and Railroad Avenue. The public is invited to attend.
Last week the final asphalt surface was placed throughout the project. Before the enhanced crosswalks at Gaines Street and Railroad Avenue and the final pavement markings throughout the project can be installed, the new pavement has to cure for two weeks. This work should be complete on April 24, allowing two-way traffic to resume throughout the project the following day.
“Some initially questioned the Commission's decision to invest in Gaines Street at a time when the economy was down," Mayor John Marks said. "We believed, however, that improving this district would not only help existing businesses but would attract new development. With mixed-use developments like College Town and The Deck, as well as the independent, locally owned shops and eateries that are open in the larger Gaines Street, All Saints and Railroad Square areas, that vision is becoming a reality."
The City has been committed over the last several years to raising awareness of Gaines Street and its area businesses. After two-way traffic has been restored, it will be easier and safer for citizens to travel the area and support these local businesses. From automotive repair and bicycle sales and service to funky fashions and delicious eats, Gaines Street and the larger All Saints District have a lot to offer. By supporting these area businesses, the majority of which are locally owned, citizens are also helping to strengthen the local economy.
Following the opening, enhanced crosswalks will still need to be installed at various crossings along the road, which could require a nighttime closure at some point in the coming weeks. The City heard from several businesses that it was important to reopen the road to two-way traffic as soon as possible, even if it meant a temporary closure at a later date, as opposed to maintaining the one-way until it was fully completed.
As part of this project, Gaines Street was rebuilt with enhanced pedestrian amenities. Work included installing storm drain pipe and electric and communication duct banks; repaving; constructing new curb, gutter and sidewalk; creating seating walls, median islands and bioswales for treating runoff water; planting landscaping; and more.
For more information on the Gaines Street project, please visit Talgov.com/Gaines. Information is also available by liking Gaines Street on Facebook or by following @GainesStreet on Twitter.
Lizzy Kelley, Communications Department, 891-8533