After having read quite a few complaints about our Main Street "bump out" or curb extension, I can't help but notice one key conclusion is consistently being missed: the inconvenience to drivers is the point.
While I've never had any trouble navigating this curb extension, I encounter it much more often as a pedestrian or cyclist than I do as a driver. The same is true for many of my neighbors and we all have stories of too close for comfort encounters with cars hurtling past near the Main and Nash intersection with no regard for the humans outside of vehicles around them.
Both Main and Nash are largely broad, unobstructed roadways, a design that lends itself toward a false sense of security and reckless driving.
There's not much incentive to obey a 20 mph limit when there seems to be literal room for error and no legal consequence.
Despite this, the streets are our busiest, with pedestrians making their way between businesses, government offices, court buildings, and street parked cars throughout the day - a dangerous combination.
While better enforcement and a posted limit on Nash Street should help, I'm not so naïve to believe a cruiser on every corner 24/7 is a practical use of resources.
What if we could instead encourage safer driving more passively?
As it turns out, our much-maligned "bump out" does this already.
To successfully navigate the narrowed street with obstacle curb, a driver must slow down and pay more careful attention to their surroundings.
This same slower, more attentive driver is more likely to take notice of the humans and objects around them and has increased their reaction time. I have difficulty seeing a downside.
While vehicles do bring people into downtown, we all operate on foot once there.
Slower traffic is not only safer, but better for businesses that may be overlooked at higher speeds (for faster trips from Point A to Point B, there is Bickett Boulevard).
Our downtown should be treated as a destination of its own, not a thoroughfare to places elsewhere.