Downtown street closing for upgrade

900 block of New Hampshire to be repaired, repaved in wake of construction project

The 900 block of New Hampshire Street took a beating from heavy construction equipment during the year it was closed to build the city's new parking garage and Lawrence Arts Center.

Now city officials are closing it again � this time to make the street better.

And though the two-month street project starting Monday will restrict access to both the new buildings, officials aren't worried.

"We'll just live with it," said Ann Evans, arts center director.

Lisa Patterson, a city spokeswoman, agreed.

"People will still have the use of the parking garage available to them," she said.

But it won't be as easy. Users of the parking garage will be able to access the structure at only its Ninth Street entrance during most of the construction.

Patterson said the benefits would be worth the inconvenience. In addition to repairing the street and curbs, crews will build a crosswalk from the garage across the street to the arts center. The crosswalk will be similar to other midblock crosswalks downtown, only slightly raised to create a traffic-calming effect less dramatic than a speedbump.

"It will be an improvement," Patterson said.

Evans said she hoped the new crosswalk would slow traffic.

"Cars really speed through here," she said.

Meanwhile, Evans said arts center patrons and children in the center's preschool program still would be able to find ways to get to the building.

"It will be day-to-day," she said. "But there will always be a way to get here."


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