Gaines Street Widening Project

The city wants to revitalize Gaines Street and improve downtown traffic flow, but a previously planned enhanced Gaines Street boulevard may be too expensive because the original plan for Gaines Street, keeping it at four lanes but adding wide sidewalks, landscaping, a median and bike lanes, is almost $15 million over budget.

Hugh Taylor sells art and a whole lot more at his shop on Gaines Street, a Tallahassee neighborhood that's a putting on a different face.

"It's a distinct, artsy, funky, eclectic kind of mix of shops, restaurants, all kinds of stuff," says Hugh.

The city wants to make Gaines Street even better, but plans for a wider four-lane pedestrian boulevard are on hold. A new possibility: turn Gaines Street and Madison Streets into one-way pairs, and then build a new road.

"It still maintains the revitalization and design amenities that we were looking for, and that we think are essential for revitalization along the corridor of Gaines Street," says Debbie Lightsey.

The new idea is a Gamble-FAMU Way connection. It would be a link between Lake Bradford and Monroe Streets, a gateway to the airport and FAMU.

"We have a limited amount of money available, less than we originally anticipated. So what we're looking at are two or three alternatives to the original designs to Gaines Street," says Cliff Thaell.

But while governments try to figure out how best to revitalize Gaines Street, merchants like Taylor are basically doing it themselves.

Some Gaines Street property owners were upset to hear the street might turn into a one-way. They think that would encourage speeding and hurt any efforts to locate businesses there, but property owners haven't even gotten a look at that proposed new street along Gamble and FAMU way, so a decision is a long way off.