Another chance to voice support, opposition for Complete Streets

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 25, 2014

SALISBURY — The public will have another chance this week to weigh in on proposed changes for East Innes and Long streets designed to slow down traffic.
The city is hosting a public input session from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday at First Calvary Baptist Church, 432 S. Long St.
A team of landscape architects and traffic engineers from Raleigh and Asheville has been working on the $120,000 study called Complete Streets. The deaths of two pedestrians who were crossing East Innes prompted a closer look at pedestrian safety in the area.
The designers were surprised during the first public input session, held in January, to encounter strong opposition to their suggestions to slow traffic, including medians, bike lanes, curb bump-outs and a “road diet” that would take South Long Street from five lanes down to two lanes with a turn lane and median.
Many members of First Calvary Baptist Church spoke against the changes, as well as business owners with businesses on East Innes Street.
Support for the proposals at January’s workshop grew as several people who live on or near Long Street spoke out in favor of slowing traffic. A group of bicycling enthusiasts also voiced support.
Opinions at previous meetings, including an evening public forum in September and a three-day design charrette in October, largely had reflected support for slowing traffic and making it safer to cross the streets.
In January, church members requested a stoplight at their corner — Long and Monroe streets — to help children headed to Lincoln Park Pool cross the street safely. The design team agreed about the need but said their request for a traffic light failed because vehicle counts are too low to meet the state standard for a signal.
Designers listened to opponents and said they would take their concerns into consideration.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.