City Council to consider bike lanes on Newsome Road, sidewalks on Bringle Ferry Road

SALISBURY — Salisbury City Council will consider widening Newsome Road with curbs, gutters and new bicycle lanes when members meet at 4 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall, 217 S. Main St.

City Council will consider an agreement with N.C. Department of Transportation for the project, which is expected to cost $1.4 million. The city would pay 20 percent, or $279,000, and the state would pay 80 percent, or $1.1 million. Funds for the local match have been requested in the city budget.

The project includes adding bicycle lanes on Newsome Road from Stokes Ferry Road to Bringle Ferry Road.

Newsome Road is maintained by the city and serves as the north-south connector for neighborhoods bound on the west by Interstate 85 and on the east by a regulated floodway. Average daily traffic on Newsome Road is about 4,000 vehicle per day.

The posted speed limit is 35 mph, but traffic studies show the 85th-percentile speed as 44 mph. Bike lanes are recommended as a high priority in the city’s comprehensive bicycle plan.

Construction is scheduled to be done by the end of September 2015.

In a similar project, City Council also will consider an agreement with N.C. DOT to build sidewalks on Bringle Ferry Road between Long Street and Newsome Road.

The state would reimburse the city for 80 percent of eligible expenses for sidewalks on both sides of Bringle Ferry Road. Construction is scheduled to be done in August 2015. The project would cost $298,650, with the city paying $59,730 and the state paying $238,920.

Also on Tuesday’s agenda:

• Council to recognize Soldiers Memorial AME Zion Church in honor of its 150th Anniversary.

• Council to recognize the Salisbury Police Department for receiving its eighth consecutive Law Enforcement Meritorious Accreditation Award from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.

In November 2013, an onsite review conducted by members of the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies took place at the Salisbury Police Department. The review consisted of a study of the department’s policies to assure they meet the highest standards in the law enforcement profession, as well as a review of the documented proofs that demonstrate compliance with these policies.

The onsite assessment also included monitoring of officers in the performance of their duties as well as interviews with officers to affirm their understanding and compliance with the high standards.

Citizens were also interviewed by assessors in order to receive feeback concerning the Salisbury Police Department. The city learned in March that the department would receive accreditation, which is good for three years. On Tuesday, Craig Hartley, executive director for the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, will officially recognize the department for receiving this honor for a total of 24 years and present a certificate to Chief Rory Collins.

• Council to receive a presentation from Salisbury High School’s Team Good Life regarding their efforts to counter violence and bullying in schools.

• Council to consider closing a portion of Hall Road and hold a public hearing.

• Council to consider establishing rules of procedure for public comment periods.

The UNC School of Government recommends local government boards adopt rules of procedure to ensure consistent expectations for both the citizens and the local government board.

Mayor Paul Woodson asked city staff to research the issue, consider what other cities do and draft proposed rules. The resolution under consideration on Tuesday formalizes what has been City Council’s standing policy for public comment.

Among other rules, the proposal states that speakers will each have three minutes. As the presiding officer, the mayor has the discretion to grant additional time in special circumstances.

A speaker may yield his or her time to another speaker, but no more than two speakers may combine time. The same speaker may speak only once per public comment period. In order to avoid repetitiveness, groups should elect a spokesperson to speak on their behalf.

Public comment is not intended to require City Council to answer impromptu questions. Council members will not take action on an item presented during public comment.

When appropriate, City Council may refer inquiries and items discussed during public comment to the city manager for follow up. Speakers must be courteous in their language and presentation, and personal attacks will not be tolerated.

Signs no larger than two square feet are permitted, provided that they do not block anyone’s view.

• Council to consider removing Sections 22-1 and 22-2 of the city code regarding fee schedules.

• Council to consider appointments to various boards and commissions.

• Council to receive public comments.

• City Manager Doug Paris’ comments, including a request that City Council approve outcomes and goals for the coming fiscal year, which starts July 1.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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