COVID comparison

Rusty and Danielle Fisher, of Blanchard, Oklahoma, take pictures at the northwest elk antler arch July 20 on the Town Square.

Town of Jackson employees will remove the expanded pedestrian “flex space” around Town Square on Friday in preparation for the transition to winter.

With the enlarged walking space and accompanying barriers removed, traffic on Center Street between Deloney and Broadway avenues will return to two-way.

The project that turned Center Street into a one-way route in June provided more room for pedestrians to socially distance in downtown Jackson during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

When the pandemic first set in, town staff and the Town Council initially prepared for a sharp downturn in tourism during the peak summer period. Instead, Jackson experienced record tourism numbers as people flocked to the valley in droves, forcing town staff and the council to abruptly pivot and make adjustments to accommodate the downtown crowds in the healthiest possible way.

Along with the expanded pedestrian zones from Home Ranch parking lot to Town Square, the council voted to allow streetside “parklets” in front of restaurants to make room for more seating, as public health guidelines limited the eateries’ capacity indoors. Town of Jackson Public Information Officer Carl Pelletier said the parklets can remain in place until Oct. 31, a date town staff chose because it is one day before the winter parking ban — which prohibits parking on town streets and public lots between the hours of 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. to allow for snow plowing — that goes into effect Nov. 1.

“That being said, some places, like Thai Me Up, have already pulled the tables and chairs from their parklet, so we’ve contacted all of the parklets with (Town of Jackson) features (jersey barriers, planters, bike racks) in place to see if they wanted to move them out earlier,” Pelletier wrote in an email.

Contact Tim Woods at 732-5911 or town@jhnewsandguide.com.

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