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Sidewalks in $1.7 million plan, cost tied to future bonds and grants.
By David Leone
WAKE FOREST — Take a walk down Stadium Drive and you’ll quickly see why the town is working on a project to run sidewalks down the length of it.
Students, some high-schoolers, some seminary, have only short stretches of sidewalks to navigate. Often pedestrians have to share the road with vehicles.
Or, they can cross the road to the sidewalks on the other side, and, after a bit, cross the road again, never at a stoplight or crosswalk.
Tuesday evening at town hall, Wake Forest planners and design engineers from the Kimley Horn consulting firm presented draft plans to remedy those issues.
“I think it’s going to be really nice,” Candace Davis, Wake Forest Senior Planner said of the project, titled: Stadium Drive — Complete Streets.
About 1.1 miles of sidewalks or paved paths will be added to both sides of the road, connecting to all the existing chunks.
At Stadium and Wingate Street, the two-way stop will become a roundabout — larger than the one on the other side of the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Just west of the roundabout, a grassy boulevard will divide Stadium for a half-block.
Also, the two-lane portions of Stadium will be three-laned, with a continuous turn lane down the center.
And the pavement will be marked with sharrows, arrows designating that drivers need to share the road with cyclists. Due to some steep embankments, widening the road to accommodate full bike lanes isn’t feasible, designers said.
The town is also planning to pave North Avenue, the two-block bit of road between North Main Street and Wingate. And there are future greenway and bus stop tie-ins.
The design work is already funded, paid for in part by government grant. Construction is estimated to cost $1.7 million.
Though Davis believes the town will get a federal Locally Administered Projects Program (LAPP) grant paying for 80 percent of that, the other 20 percent ($340,000) will have to be approved as part of the fall 2014 bond issue.
The plan attempts to save large trees throughout. And architect Matt Hale has been tasked to come up with a design feature at the western end, where Glencoe Drive intersects Stadium.
Parking would be removed in front of the one-story brick seminary housing across from Wake Forest High. Those spaces would go off to the side of the buildings in a newly paved lot.
The project doesn’t go through backyards, so there are few, if any, dissenters. But not all elements are shored up.
The current draft of the plan, considered to be 30-percent complete, shows the seven parking spaces on North removed. The parked cars create a line-of sight obstruction for vehicles exiting driveways, according to Marty and Debra Ludas, who own a residence and business on the block.
But Tuesday, Debra Ludas seemed more concerned about student safety.
“I just want it so it’s a continuous sidewalk all the way to the high school,” she said.
If plans are approved by town commissioners and the transportation bond carries this fall, Davis would apply for the 2016 LAPP cycle. Construction would be budgeted for 2015-16, she said.
To follow progress of the project, see tiny.cc/stadiumwalks. For more information, e-mail Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call her at 919-435-9513.