DTSF awarded grant to help with improving downtown walkability

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - Surveys have shown that pedestrian safety in downtown Sioux Falls is a top priority for the community.

That item has been noted as crews with downtown Sioux Falls are exploring options to improve the pedestrian walking experience.

Sunday morning, a crew with downtown Sioux Falls painted crosswalks as a way to experiment with improving walkability downtown.

"We just want to create a safer environment for everyone," Downtown Sioux Falls President, Joe Batcheller said.

The new painted crosswalks will provide a visual cue for drivers to let them know to slow down for pedestrians. With the hustle and bustle of downtown Sioux Falls during the summer months it can get busy which means more and more visitors walking in the area.

"Every time we do a survey pedestrian safety is one of the issues that keeps rising to the top," Batcheller said.

DTSF was awarded a $10,000 AARP Community Challenge grant that allows them to make improvements to the downtown community.

"Really this is a way to provide a little bit more of a pedestrian environment and to create more of a pedestrian refuge,” Batcheller said.

Scott Schoenen lives in downtown Sioux Falls and said sometimes people don't take the time to slow down.

Ricardo: "What made you want to come out here today to help?"

"Just to try to see if this will help calm the traffic a little bit,” Schoenen said. "I think it'll just make it a little more obvious that there's a crosswalk there. Typically people can't see it because it's at the same level as their car so it might be hard to see."

Cameras have been installed on the corner of 12th street and 2nd avenue downtown to monitor driver speed and pedestrian traffic.

"We are going to be researching what the affect is after we put this in," Batcheller said.

They’ll then provide the data to AARP. They're interested in creating more livable and accessible cities as Sioux Falls grows.

The inspiration was taken from the Main Avenue Road Diet that was done a few years ago and they're looking to see what kind of improvement it makes.

"The city was thinking OK this experiment has run its course after a few years and they were going to come and strip the paint off and the City Council said, ‘no we love this’," Batcheller said.

The painted crosswalks will be located at 12th and 2nd and 8th and railroad downtown.

They will incorporate the Sioux Falls flag design that has elements of the sunburst and the zig zag pattern of the falls.