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What goes on the structures added at intersections with Fourth Street Southwest reconstruction?

The square structures are designed to allow pedestrians a spot to rest along the way.

Fourth Street Southwest bench.jpg
Fourth Street Southwest benches are designed at most corners along the reconstructed street, between First and Sixth avenues.
Answer Man/Post Bulletin
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Dear Answer Man,

Several years ago, Fourth Street Southwest was rebuilt with a median in the middle and a host of other amenities, such as bike lanes. 

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In most of the intersections on all four corners there are tan "pedestals." Are these supposed to eventually hold something?  Or are they just decorative in their own right?  

These look like they would be an excellent location to display statuary similar to the sculpture walk program in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

– Interested art lover

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Answer Man logo

Art lover,

The “pedestals” are indeed meant to hold something, namely weary pedestrians and others needing a bit of the break.

The square structures are benches placed along Fourth Street Southwest between First and Sixth avenues. They are designed to allow someone to sit facing any of four directions, which also provides options for multiple users at one time.

Since the project intersects the current Discovery Walk project along four blocks of Second Avenue Southwest, pedestrian access was a key part of the plan developed before construction started in 2018.

The benches are just one part of the work that sought to provide improved access for pedestrians.

At some intersections, lights were reconfigured to give pedestrians a head start in crossing the road, and the new median provides a resting spot or safe haven for anyone on foot, if needed.

Granted, Fourth Street doesn't provide an ideal walking path today, so few people are seen taking a break along the corridor still dominated by vehicle traffic. However, as Destination Medical Center plans unfold, that is expected to change, and the benches will be in place for residents and visitors who need a chance to stop and rest.

The idea of adding sculptures to the resting spots at each intersection is intriguing, but the city is already investing in a variety of public art as part of other Destination Medical Center projects.

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Most recently, the call was put out for local and national artists interested in helping add art elements to the planned rapid-transit project along Second Street, southwest and southeast.

New art has already been installed in Peace Plaza with the recent Heart of the City renovations, and more is expected with Discovery Walk and future phases of the Heart of the City project.

If it’s art and a walk you are looking for, the city’s Art4Trails project has been adding sculptures along city trails since 2016.

It’s all enough to make one want to get out and find a new walking route, knowing that even new benches can inspire artistic thoughts in those that might need them.

Send questions to Answer Man at answerman@postbulletin.com .

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