The issue of paving Edgar Street has come up periodically over the years. Back in the ’80s, city crews showed up without warning one day with asphalt trucks and road graders in tow, ready to pave the old alley. It’s said that two neighborhood residents stood in the way and wouldn’t move until the city backed down.
The issue has surfaced again and will be taken up at Monday’s meeting of the College Hill Neighborhood Association (7 p.m., Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, 501 S. Mendenhall Street — enter through the door marked “Fellowship Hall” on Mendenhall). The neighborhood will hear from Mike Mabe, street maintenance manager for the city’s Field Operations Department, on the issues surrounding the possible paving of the street.
The reasons for paving Edgar are obvious — heavy rains leave huge ruts and potholes; dry spells lead to cars stirring up clouds of dust. But any potential plan to pave Edgar would have to address some other long-standing problems.
- Cut-through traffic. The volume of traffic on Edgar is higher than a one-lane, two-way street should handle. Drivers on McGee Street heading to the Tate Street business district use Edgar to cut through from McGee to Carr Street or to go through the Sushi Republic parking lot. Jimmy John’s drivers use it because Walker Avenue’s one-way section blocks them from going directly to Tate Street from their parking lot.
- Congestion at Edgar and Carr. Much of that cut-through traffic turns onto or off of Edgar at Carr Street, clogging the street just a few feet from the often-crowded intersection of Carr and Tate.
- The city’s inconsistent attitude on whether Edgar is actually a city street. City crews maintain the street. City garbage trucks use it like a street. Edgar has city streetlights, and there are green “Edgar Street” signs at the corners where it meets Rankin Place, Carr and Walker. But the water department passes the buck whenever there’s an issue on Edgar, claiming it’s not a city street. And apparently there’s no written record of the city taking ownership of the street from College Hill’s original developer.
For decades, inertia has kept at bay any solutions to Edgar’s problems, but some cooperation from the city and a consensus from the neighborhood could make Edgar a safer, quieter and even less dusty little street.