City leaders propose raised crosswalks in downtown

Published 7:37 am Friday, July 10, 2015

Star Photo/Kayla Carter The City of Elizabethton hopes to replace these pedestrian signs with raised crosswalks and speed tables.

Star Photo/Kayla Carter
The City of Elizabethton hopes to replace these pedestrian signs with raised crosswalks and speed tables.

City leaders are hoping to say adieu to pedestrian signs placed along East Elk Avenue in downtown Elizabethton.
Elizabethton Street and Sanitation Director Danny Hilbert presented a new idea to control traffic at the Downtown Business Association Thursday.
The new solution will consist of three raised crosswalks between each intersection. The proposed crosswalk locations are currently marked with orange paint.
“We want to be pedestrian-friendly,” Hilbert said. “It’s a speed table and raised crosswalk. It serves two purposes.”
The estimated cost of each crosswalk is $12,000.
“We made sure that funds were available for that,” Hilbert said.
Hilbert made sure to point out that drainage issues and parking were taken into consideration when planning the locations of the crosswalks.
“In each block, it is going to take away some parking,” Hilbert said. Approximately two parking spaces per block and on either side of the crosswalks will be eliminated.
Hilbert has been working with McGill Associates on what the raised crosswalks should look like and presented the design at the meeting.
The crosswalks will be 22 feet across and have a 6 foot grade on either side of a 10 foot platform on top.
“They will be handicap accessible on each side,” Hilbert said.
The top of the speed table will be stamped with a brick pattern and colored to match the crosswalk at Sycamore and Elk avenues.
“This has really helped in other places to calm traffic and also in helping move pedestrians from side to side of the street,” he said.
Plenty of signage is planned for the area to help motorists identify areas where they need to slow down.
“There will also be something similar to rumble strips at the entrance of town,” Hilbert said. “We think this will help in a lot of ways.”
Hilbert was unsure when construction would begin. Business owners at the meeting preferred that construction be conducted at night.
Hilbert wanted to postpone implementation until downtown business owners have had plenty of time to consider it and voice concerns.
“We’re here to try to work with you all,” he said. “We want to make downtown the best for you all as we possibly can.”
Hilbert encouraged business owners to look at the proposed locations and design and then provide feedback to either his office or the city manager’s office.
In other discussion, various local leaders discussed the completion of the final portion of the Tweetsie Trail.
The final three miles of the trail is slated to traverse downtown and business owners want to show their support.
City Manager Jerome Kitchens pitched the idea to have each business decorate a bike to display on their section of the sidewalk.
Parks and Recreation Director Mike Mains has been designated to spearhead the grand opening ceremony and activities scheduled for Labor Day, which is Sept. 5.
Plans for a ribbon cutting ceremony and a walk for which people can register to receive a T-shirt are in the works.
Although some donations have been trickling in, Kitchens also asked downtown businesses to consider donating money to the Tweetsie Trail project. A total of $50,000 is needed to complete the next phase.

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