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SALISBURY — Consultants from Raleigh and Asheville will unveil proposals for bike lanes, medians, crosswalks and other changes designed to make East Innes Street, Long Street and the Square safer and more attractive.
The city wants your opinion on the vision created by Design Workshop.
The city will host a drop-in public input session for the Innes Street and Long Street Complete Streets Corridor Study from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at First Calvary Baptist Church, 432 S. Long St.
Anyone interested in the future of these corridors is invited to attend.
Experts who spent three days studying the streets and the Square — the intersection of Innes and Main streets — will be on hand with drawings and graphics to explain their proposals. They want feedback from people who live and work in the area, city planner Lynn Raker said.
“If someone see a red flag, they want to know that,” she said.
Five consultants from Raleigh and Asheville came up with ways to make Long and East Innes safer for pedestrians, mostly by slowing traffic, narrowing the distance to cross the street and adding landscaped medians to serve as pedestrian refuges. Their work is part of the $120,000 study called Complete Streets, spurred by the deaths of two people in recent years who were trying to cross East Innes in the middle of a block.
The study of East Innes Street from Interstate 85 to Main Street and Long Street from Bringle Ferry Road to Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue began this summer. City Council appointed a steering committee of local residents to head up the project.
Based on meetings with the steering committee and other public input sessions, consultants developed conceptual plans. The consultants and city staff answer questions and gather comments during Tuesday’s drop-in.
The event will serve as the final public input during the design phase, prior to a public hearing at an upcoming City Council meeting.
Several areas in the corridor study have more than one option for change, City Engineer Wendy Brindle said, and the design team wants feedback on which choice people prefer.
On-street parking, lower speed limits, crossing signals and more are features the design team may suggest to slow down drivers and make the streets safer for pedestrians.
After the drop-in, the design team will make changes and meet with the steering committee again before the plan is presented to City Council.
“We are well on our way to completion of the plan at this point,” Raker said.
The city has not yet secured money to implement any of changes. But because the study was prompted by pedestrian deaths and the proposals are designed to make the streets and sidewalks safer, Brindle said, the N.C. Department of Transportation may be a good source of funds.
The design team and city staffers will ask for public input to help prioritize different parts of the plan, to make changes in phases as money becomes available, Raker said.
The designers kept cost in mind while creating their vision, Raker said.
“There were very few instances where they proposed moving curbs,” she said. “… They are working within the curb lines that are there now.”
For the most part, street widths would remain the same. But additions like landscaped medians and bike lanes — often called a “road diet” — can make streets feel narrower to pedestrians and easier to cross.
Although they rarely found Salisbury’s roads too narrow when they visited in October, designers are expected to propose widening North Long Street in front of Rowan Helping Ministries.
They will show one option for adding left-hand turns at the Square, a long-held goal of Downtown Salisbury Inc., and discussion other alternatives, Raker said.
If passed and implemented by City Council, the Complete Streets study would represent “a watershed change for both Innes and Long,” Raker said.
“It’s something that folks, especially on Long Street, have been talking about for some period,” she said. “And Innes, we all know the problems with pedestrian safety as well as appearance there.”
The design team wanted to hold Tuesday’s event in a location where the changes would occur and have the most impact, Raker said.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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