When Paris, ID Mayor Brent Lewis called ITD, he was looking for a solution to a common problem on Main Street – high speed traffic through a small town that endangered lives. ITD’s District 5 Engineer Corey Krantz was quick to respond by designing a road diet that slowed traffic with an inexpensive solution – paint.
When the change happened, the Mayor was accused of “losing his marbles” by some, but over time, he has been praised as this being one of the best things he has done during his term in public office. The new road design took two lanes in each direction down to one lane per direction, a turning lane, bike lanes and parking. Why bike lanes, many asked. Mayor Lewis knows it is important to look ahead and be prepared for change because the change is coming. Whether he rides a bike doesn’t matter, bicyclists are coming eventually and he wants his town to be ready to accommodate them.
Of course there are many other reasons to slow small town Main St. traffic down, such as safety. When a friend of his said he no longer wanted to raise his kids along Main St and was moving to a quieter street, the Mayor took this seriously. This is, after all, a town of 500 people and every street should be safe to raise a family. But lane jockeying and speeding were common along this road, neither of which improve safety.
Thank you, Mayor Lewis, for having the forethought to make a bold move to improve safety in your beautiful town for every community member, especially those who travel without a car.
Click on this link to read ITD’s press release about Paris and how Idaho State Police feel about this change. We look forward to seeing additional road diets planned for District 5 in the coming year.