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Last updated: October 01. 2013 10:59PM - 3336 Views
By - tjoyce@civitasmedia.com



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Less than two weeks after adopting a comprehensive pedestrian plan for the city, the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners is poised to approve a sidewalk project for one of the plan’s priority areas.


It is among items that the board will consider during a 2 p.m. meeting Thursday in the Municipal Building.


In addition to a proposed 445-foot sidewalk extension, the work affecting West Pine and South streets could include pedestrian crossings and curb ramps at the intersection of those streets, pending an agreement with the N.C. Department of Transportation.


The sidewalk would be extended along West Pine Street from South Street at Mill Creek General Store to the bridge over Lovills Creek. This would provide a safe access to sites such as the Roses/Lowes Foods shopping center for pedestrians, who must walk on the edge of the roadway due to the absence of a sidewalk.


That section is one of the key areas listed as needing improvements in the plan approved on Sept. 19 as a guide for Mount Airy’s pedestrian infrastructure on a long-term basis.


Along with citing West Pine Street as a vital link for motor vehicle traffic in and out of Mount Airy, that street is a “critical interface” with the nearby Emily B. Taylor Greenway and the shopping center, the plan states.


It lists the lack of sidewalks along the bridge crossing as a deficiency.


The sidewalk extension could be undertaken by city personnel, with materials costing an estimated $6,500 to $9,000.


Curb Ramps, Crossings

In addition to the new walkway, municipal officials have been asked about the need for curb ramps and pedestrian crossings at the busy intersection of South and Pine streets.


Curb ramps are critical features that provide access between a sidewalk and roadway for wheelchair users; people using walkers or crutches or those with other mobility or physical impairments; or those pushing bicycles or strollers.


The Americans With Disabilities Act requires curb ramps to be installed at all intersections where pedestrian crossings exist.


Since both Pine and South streets are part of the state highway system, a resolution to be considered Thursday afternoon by the commissioners would authorize municipal staff members to contact the Department of Transportation about a shared arrangement.


Ideally, the DOT would construct the pedestrian crossings, with the city building the curb ramps, officials say.


Other Agenda Items

Among additional business to be considered during Thursday’s board meeting is:


• A proposed agreement regarding the Lovills Creek Dam in Carroll County, Va., which was constructed during the 1980s in the Cana area to provide flood protection downstream in Mount Airy and Surry County.


Both localities share in the maintenance of the dam and spillway, with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation recently notifying Carroll County officials that the dam must undergo a study called inundation zone mapping.


It would involve creating maps that clearly depict flooded areas downstream from a sudden or total dam failure.


The cost of the mapping services is put at $50,000, which would be split equally among Carroll County, Surry County and the city — the latter’s expense being $16,700.


• The recognition of Dickson Record and Toy Shop, as part of an ongoing city government program to highlight older local businesses.


• A public forum during which citizens may speak on any city government topic.


Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or tjoyce@civitasmedia.com.


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