Mayor’s proposed budget includes funds for 5 Points

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

The first step in funding the $4 million streetscape project in 5 Points was taken last month when Mayor Alvin Brown included the improvement project on page 60
of the Proposed Capital Improvement Program FY 2015-2019.

That leaves just $3,250,000 to go.

According to the proposed design, Phase 1 will cover improvements to Lomax Street and to the 5 Points intersection.
“The improvements at the 5 Points intersection are designed mainly to make the intersection safer for pedestrians and bicyclists by providing for shorter and more direct crosswalks, and by slowing down vehicular traffic through this busy intersection,” said Stephen Tocknell, of Tocknell Planning Services LLC. “By making the crosswalks shorter, space now used for
vehicular traffic at 5 Points will be converted into public plazas that can be used for landscaping, walking and dining.”

Although there has been at least one community meeting held where the plans were explained, Councilman-at-Large Robin Lumb is arranging for another public meeting to ensure that all residents and nearby businesses understand the reason behind the project and the eventual outcome.

“The improvement to the 5 Points intersection will make it less confusing to drivers and more pedestrian friendly and the Lomax street improvements will provide wider sidewalks and a
better experience for walking shoppers,” said District 5 Councilman Jim Love, who is working with Lumb to convene the meeting.
The plan was developed so that minor improvements could be undertaken through the city’s ongoing maintenance activities, according to Tocknell. “All of the major improvements in the study are included in either the first phase or the second phase.”

The Phase 2 improvements would include changes to the intersections of Park and Post and Post and Margaret, improvements to Margaret Street, including intersection improvements on Margaret Street at Forbes Street and Herschel Street, and improvements to the midblock crosswalk on Park Street between Lomax Street and Post Street.
A rough cost estimate for the Phase 2 improvements is $3,250,000, although it is noted in the 2015-2016 Capital Improvement Program (CIP), the source of the funds is yet to be determined.

Tocknell noted that if Phase 1 improvements are included in the city’s final adopted budget for FY 2014-2015, construction could begin very soon after the completion of the design phase. “The design phase itself would take around eight months from the day that the design engineer is authorized to start work,” he said. “We wouldn’t have to wait for next year’s budget to get started on the design work, but funding for the design work will still have to be raised from the area merchants before it could begin.”
The project is estimated to take about two years to complete.

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