The City of Clinton is seeking to become more pedestrian-friendly in its connectivity, and the N.C. Department of Transportation just helped the city take a giant step forward in that endeavor.
In seeking funds to implement the Clinton Pedestrian Plan, the planning staff contacted N.C. DOT regarding possible funding. After evaluating potential projects, the agency agreed to fund sidewalk connections from Butler Avenue School to Sunset Avenue School for up to $128,000.
Senior Planner Lyle Moore made the funding announcement at Tuesday night’s Council meeting.
“I’m delighted tonight to tell you that the City of Clinton has received a $128,000 contract from N.C. DOT to construct about 980 feet of new sidewalk, and repair some sidewalk that is in some disrepair, along Ferrell, Chestnut and Fayetteville street. These sidewalks will connect Butler (Avenue) and Sunset elementary schools,” Moore noted.
There is no match required for the city.
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.
Planning staff met with N.C. DOT representatives last year to discuss what funds may be available for pedestrian improvements. One of the recommendations from the Pedestrian Plan was to pursue design and construction of a multi-use path along Elizabeth Street to the high school and middle school.
“We were directed to pursue Safe Routes to School funding but found challenges to the design of this project and also limited funds available,” Clinton-Sampson Planning director Mary Rose explained. “N.C. DOT Division 3 representatives then began to evaluate other project areas that would complete connectivity between schools and improve safety.”
Division Engineer Karen Fussell and N.C. DOT Board member Michael Lee were “instrumental” in designating Small Construction Funds in the amount of $128,000 to address sidewalk construction, handicap accessible ramps and curb improvements along the route between Butler Avenue School and Sunset Avenue School.
The City Council formally signed off on a Small Construction agreement from DOT for the funding and, along with Planning staff, offered their thanks to Fussell and Lee.
“This addresses some of the pedestrian needs that were outlined in our Clinton Pedestrian Plan,” said Moore. “The City of Clinton is not going to have to spend any money on this, just maintain the sidewalks after they’re constructed.”
Rose said 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.”
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-249-4616. Follow us on twitter @SampsonInd.