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Results Show Sheridan's Main Street Test Successful

Wyoming Department of Transportation

Sheridan's Main Street reconfiguration test was found to be successful from both the community and the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT). That's according to the results of both a community survey and data from WYDOT.
Before the test began, WYDOT collected traffic information to see how many people use Main Street. They compared those numbers to data collected throughout the test to see if traffic numbers changed.

The city is exploring the idea of changing lanes on Main Street from four lanes of traffic to two with a center turn lane. That test will conclude next week.

WYDOT District Traffic Engineer Michelle Edwards said not many drivers avoided Main Street during the test. Though, she said, drivers did feel some impact.

"It really appeared to function pretty adequately during our peak periods but we did see queues back up into the intersections every once and a while usually related to someone making a parallel parking maneuver close to an intersection. That was one of our main issues we saw related to parallel parking," Edwards said.

She said that if the city and WYDOT want to make a permanent change, there will be some adjustments to the design.

The city and WYDOT want to figure out a different way to identify the 4-foot buffer zone that's located between street parking and the traffic lanes in the new configuration. Some in the community believed the buffer zone to be a bike lane due to the way in which it was stripped.

WYDOT said they will not allow a bike lane on Main Street because of the potential for accidents.

The city also gathered feedback from the community through an online survey.

Nearly 1,000 people responded to the survey. Sixty-five percent said they were in favor of the change. Nearly 30 percent said they want the street to remain in the four-lane configuration.

Sheridan's Community Development Director Brian Craig said the next step is to get the cost estimate for a permanent change.

"Once we get those numbers, council can decide if that budget amount is appropriate for what they have left for this fiscal year. Otherwise they can look at planning it in advance of the 2023 project maybe in a future fiscal year," Craig said.

He said another option is waiting for the 2023 resurfacing project, which could carry less of a financial burden on the city.

Preliminary estimates for the redesign range from $50,000 to $205,000, due to the potential need to place mast arms that hold traffic signals.

The city will make a decision on what to do in the coming months.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Catherine Wheeler, at cwheel11@uwyo.edu.

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