Simplified: The city's active transit board this week approved plans to test out several "bump outs" in downtown as a way to calm traffic and keep pedestrians safe. Here's what you need to know.

Why it matters

  • A bump out is a traffic calming measure that essentially shortens the distance a person has to walk in crossing the street by narrowing the traffic lane and forcing cars to slow down, Senior Planner Fletcher Lacock said.
  • The pilot project – funded in part by a grant Downtown Sioux Falls, Inc. received – will bring more than three dozen bump outs to areas along Eighth, 10th, 11th and 12th Streets, as well as First and Second Avenues, according to a map presented to the active transit board this week.
  • The city will measure if the pilot is successful by studying vehicle speeds both before and after the bump outs are installed, Lacock said.
"This is part of a larger plan to enhance walkability downtown," said Joe Batcheller, president of DTSF, Inc. "The intent is to see if it can have a reduction on engine noise, traffic speeds and that sort of thing so people feel safer when they're crossing the streets."

What will the bump outs look like?

It's basically just paint on the street designed to encourage drivers to slow down.

There will also be wave delineators to create a barrier between cars and the curb – picture a more aesthetic version of those vertical, flexible little orange traffic cone things.

What happens next?

The bump outs will start showing up in July, Lacock said, and the city will test them out through likely October.

"The idea is if we can show this actually slows traffic and increases pedestrian safety, that these could become built as permanent curb bump outs as we see in other areas of downtown like on Dakota and Main Streets," Lacock said.