Business booming, city considers changing downtown traffic patterns

Facing a growing population, should a local town trade traffic in the streets for traffic in their downtown stores?

Herrin, Illinois, leaders are discussing ways to improve their downtown between 14th and 16th streets, and Adams and Walnut streets, including sidewalk upgrades and rerouting traffic.

After opening her downtown storefront in April, Kim Summers says there is no other place she would want her business.

"It’s fun,” said Summers. “You have people that are in and out all of the time, walking downtown. It’s an exciting area to be in."

With business booming, Mayor Steve Frattini says between 20,000 and 30,000 pass through downtown Herrin every day. That’s two to three times the city’s population, which places parking at a premium.

"Our space availability is dwindling at a rapid rate,” said Frattini.

"It’s hard on businesses that there’s limited parking, but I also think it’s a good thing for the town," said Summers.

To try and capitalize on the positive momentum, the city is holding a series of meetings to improve traffic flow and parking.

That could mean one way streets downtown, which business owners are opposed to.

"I would prefer it to keep going both ways, with people coming from both directions to see your spot," said Frattini.

As the city continues to grow, Frattini says improving traffic now stops a bigger problem down the road.

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