E. Sherman sampler appears to please

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Brighter crosswalks to increase safety, trees and planters as well as diagonal parking were added to one block of Sherman Avenue this week as part of a city pilot project that seeks to improve an area once recognized as the gateway to downtown Coeur d’Alene. (RALPH BARTHOLDT/Press)

COEUR d’ALENE — The parking on one block of East Sherman Avenue increased by five spots this week as the real estate around Moon Time Cafe and Jimmy’s Down the Street got a splotch of color and some trees.

A pilot project that’s part of Coeur d’Alene’s East Sherman urban invigoration plan turned the 1600 block into a hub of activity Friday as builders crafted a deck in front of the Moon Time restaurant into an expanded streetscape that included diagonal parking, potted maple trees, flower planters and colorful crosswalks.

City planner Hilary Anderson said the work is temporary. It will allow residents to experience on one block what could be stretched to the remaining 12 blocks if people like what they see.

“We are testing out some of the concepts that came out of the public involvement,” Anderson said. “What people would like to see on East Sherman ... One of the big things is more parking, so we’re testing out diagonal parking on the south side of the street.”

Temporary curbing — a cement curb in a semi-circle directs traffic into the narrower street — shortens the crossing distance at two crosswalks, slowing and funneling traffic through the block.

Chris Schultz, Moon Time general manager, said patrons so far seem to like the new design. He’s looking forward to using what city designers call a parklet, an elevated balcony — or deck — that extends into the street and is used as an open-air dining area.

“We should have people sitting out there by this afternoon,” he said Friday morning.

Nicole Kahler of CDA 2030, one of the project’s partners, said the aesthetic changes on the 1600 block have brightened the landscape and gotten people’s attention.

The project precedes a community street party planned for the 1600 block next Friday. The fourth-annual evening block party Sept. 21, which drew over 1,000 people last year, will allow people to view the changes close up, Kahler said.

A discussion board on the city’s website, under the East Sherman tab, will allow for community comments.

“They can give us feedback,” Anderson said. “What they liked, what they disliked, and if it’s a good fit for East Sherman.”

The East Sherman revitalization project began in 2015 with community meetings spurred by business owners and residents who recognized that the city’s once vibrant gateway was slowly falling into disrepair. The city received grants and guidance to offset the trend and the East Sherman project officially hit the streets.

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