During the month of September, Duluth city officials experimented to try to transform Canal Park into a more fun, interactive place to be.
“It was a project between cold front — so in the winter time, how to use Canal Park — and then also how to use Canal Park as more of a tourist and resident destination in those fall times,” Duluth City Council President Noah Hobbs said.
The city closed down 13 parking meters on South Lake avenue, but added an extra lane of traffic headed towards the Aerial Lift Bridge.
“We utilized a parking lot as a family space and more public gathering space,” Hobbs said. “We used Buchanan Street as a more plaza instead of just a road, and then directed traffic flow in a more efficient manner.”
According to Hobbs, the public had a positive response.
“Overall, people liked the connectivity between the Lakewalk and the bay,” Hobbs said. “They liked the public spaces. They liked the traffic flow.”
As for what’s next, Hobbs says he’s not quite sure. First, there’s a online survey for the public to complete, and he says the city will weigh its options from there.
“The city staff are going to evaluate the survey results — what went worked well, what could’ve gone better — and then see where we go from there in making more permanent investments and look at other places that can maybe utilize some type of experiment also,” Hobbs said.
He admits the project was successful, and looks forward to seeing more of the same in the future.
“I hope that in the future we are able to try out more things like this on a temporary basis before we make permanent decisions,” Hobbs said.