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Laurels: Main Street plans will be good for motorists

Laurel to streetscaping plans that will make parking on Main Street in downtown Salisbury intrude less into lanes of travel.

Anyone who has driven through downtown knows the struggle. It’s not easy to drive in the right lane when there are cars parked on Main Street. As a result, trying to drive in the right lane usually means straddling the two travel lanes.

Simply put, vehicles parked downtown are usually a hazard for motorists.

The new plan would involve dropping the four-lane setup and move to a three-lane model that has a shallower parking angle and some parallel parking. Renderings show planters and sidewalk structures that shield parked cars from traffic.

A natural reaction might be that the plans will result in traffic congestion. But engineers say peak-hour traffic counts do not require a four-lane setup and that there will be left turn lanes. Additionally, because traffic is often forced to travel in one lane because of a bad parking setup, it’s a worthwhile change.

Further reducing the number of parking spaces downtown is another, reasonable concern, but there are almost always spots available within a short walk of any downtown destination. There will still be enough parking spaces downtown for most every large event. Only the Cheerwine Festival might strain that capacity, but events of that size might be several months or a year away because of COVID-19.

Next up is public input. Then, the Salisbury City Council and staff members will ensure funding and other logistics are in place to make the plan a reality.

Laurel to the fact that COVID-19 cases in local schools have remained relatively low to date. However, the community should understand that cases are likely to rise in schools as the same happens in the community.

As of Friday, there were seven infections in staff members and five in students in Rowan-Salisbury Schools. Like many districts across the state, the Rowan-Salisbury Schools System also hasn’t seen clusters (five or more related cases) in its buildings.

That’s evidence measures in schools have helped to mitigate the degree to which the coronavirus can spread.

Schools, however, represent what’s happening in their communities. So, with cases rising at their fastest rate yet in Rowan County, it shouldn’t be a surprise if the same happens in schools, even if schools continue to take the same precautions. Rising cases will not necessarily be an indicator that precautions like mask-wearing, social distancing and more frequent cleaning are not working.

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