Remade Church Street offers hint for other downtown thoroughfares

Church Street, the partly reconstructed artery that skirts downtown to the east, is now prettier, bike-friendlier and somewhat slower to drive.

With the $5.1 million effort to remake the boulevard from a blistering bypass into a part of the city center comes with wide sidewalks and tree-filled medians but also the loss of some driving space and rush-hour back-ups, though complaints so far seem to be few.

City officials say the new road makes for smoother traffic, though not all the kinks have been ironed out.

The long-awaited redesign, initially funded by the federal stimulus, marks an attempt to soften downtown’s concrete collar, reconnect a lower-income neighborhood cleaved in two by the thoroughfare and open the door to the kind of development that’s now beginning to take shape.

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