With one much-needed sidewalk project completed along Barden Street, another is on tap next year that will offer connectivity from Butler Avenue to Sunset Avenue.
This summer, the city completed the first sidewalk project identified in its Comprehensive Pedestrian Plan — Barden Street. The new sidewalk along Barden allows pedestrians to walk safely from Fayetteville Street to Dogwood Circle and then to the walking trail at the Sampson Center.
Residents in the neighborhoods of the city’s fifth district raised concerns about the lack of pedestrian options, noting sidewalks as a top priority during 2015 district meeting, and those in previous years.
Adopted in 2012 to promote pedestrian safety and guide pedestrian improvements and connectivity throughout the city, the plan recommended construction of 36 new sidewalks or greenways. With the Barden Street project completed, others will soon follow with help from the N.C. Department of Transportation.
In the upcoming months, the city will be partnering to construct and repair sidewalks in order to connect Butler Avenue and Sunset Avenue Schools. DOT plans to begin that project in early spring 2016.
Planning staff contacted DOT regarding possible funding for its Pedestrian Plan last year. After evaluating potential projects, the agency agreed to fund sidewalk connections from Butler Avenue School to Sunset Avenue School for up to $128,000. There is no match required for the city.
In all, about 980 feet of new sidewalk will be constructed, and some sidewalk in disrepair will along Ferrell, Chestnut and Fayetteville streets will be overhauled.
Specifically, the $128,000 will fund upgrades along Chestnut and Ferrell streets, which connect Sunset Avenue School and Butler Avenue School. Improvements will consist of the installation of 5-foot concrete sidewalks, curb ramps and drainage modifications to connect existing sections of sidewalk.
There is 360 total feet of new sidewalk proposed for Chestnut Street on either side of the West Elizabeth Street intersection. Additionally, there is 620 feet of new sidewalk proposed for Ferrell Street, extending from West John to West Morisey Boulevard. Along with sidewalk construction, the grant funds will address handicap accessible ramps and curb improvements along the route between Butler Avenue School and Sunset Avenue School.
Clinton-Sampson Planning director Mary Rose has noted the project will prove beneficial for pedestrians and noted that city efforts to continue on that path of upgrades would be ongoing.
“New sidewalks will be constructed in places along this route that currently do not have sidewalk to complete the sidewalk network,” she commented. “Planning staff is pleased with the assistance and efforts of N.C. DOT in working diligently to find funds to improve our pedestrian facilities. Planning staff will continue to search for funds to improve our pedestrian network.”
Sunset Avenue will be the site of perhaps the largest of any of the city’s sidewalk endeavors, with walking options accompanying a more expansive N.C. 24.
“The biggest sidewalk project, and one of the top priorities in the Clinton Pedestrian Plan, will be the construction of sidewalks along both sides of Sunset Avenue from Sampson Community College to the 421/701 bypass with the Highway 24 Project,” Public Works director Jeff Vreugdenhil stated.
“This will allow pedestrians to access the west and east sides of the city safely while connecting commercial and residential areas.”
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.