WVU students brainstorm the redesign of Railroad Avenue in Elkins

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ELKINS, W.Va. (WDTV)- Brainstorming to redesign Railroad Avenue in Elkins officially began Wednesday morning. Students at WVU are looking at changing some traffic patterns and developing free space. It's all to encourage tourism and business.

Railroad Avenue: Members of Elkins Main Street say it's turning into a bypass when it should be a gateway into Elkins that makes you want to stay there. They feel areas like the town square and veteran's memorial aren't being taken full advantage of as tourist attractions and economic boosters. They also have fears about traffic safety they want to be addressed.

"There can be eight different cars, maybe even more, coming into that circle from different directions going both ways," said Maryann Maxwell Durland, chair of Elkins Main Street Design Committee.

"And then there's pedestrians trying to cross it to the depot at the same time. So safety is a big part of it for sure," added Karen Carper, the executive director of Elkins Main Street.

There were also concerns about lighting in the city hall parking lot and since it's on that main road, generally making it look nicer.

"We're gonna also look at the city hall parking lot, which was part of the project. And how new, innovative green technologies can manage storm water more efficiently," said Peter Butler, extension specialist in landscape architecture from WVU.

Some business owners say when the train's not running sometimes people don't even know their businesses are open. They're eager to bring people to this side of town.

"We have a wonderful town square that doesn't get utilized the way that it should," said Valerie Braden. "It'd be great to see people come down here and use this at night and get local businesses, all of us, involved."

"I would love to see a ladies dress shop, a shoe store, men's ware. And then I'd also like to see some evening activities," said Tammy Dolly.

The officials on the project say any idea is on the table.