The city plans to begin construction on the next phase the South Mendenhall Street traffic-calming project by the end of the year. It also expects this year to repave five streets that were torn up for water and sewer work in recent years.
An unexpected project also is being considered: The possible addition of a long-needed sidewalk along the south side of Carr Street between Tate and McIver streets.
South Mendenhall Street is now being surveyed in preparation for the construction of long-term traffic-calming measures. Jeff Sovich of the city Planning Department briefed the College Hill Neighborhood Association on the city’s plans at Monday’s meeting. Design work on the bump-outs and other structures will begin once the survey is complete. The city hopes to begin construction by the end of the year. The design will be prepared by John Fersner, new chief design engineer in the Engineering & Inspections Department.
The project is the result of years of planning initiated by the neighborhood association to reduce the excessive speed of traffic on South Mendenhall between Market and Spring Garden Streets. The changes began last year when lane shifts were implemented throughout the five blocks targeted for traffic-calming.
Funding for the project comes from the historic district’s Municipal Service Fund, paid for exclusively by College Hill property owners.
2020 street repaving
Water- and sewer-line rehabilitation, mostly conducted in 2018, seriously deteriorated the already poor condition of many College Hill streets. Repaving is scheduled for this year on:
- Carr Street from Tate to Mendenhall streets,
- Joyner Street from Spring Garden to Oakland Avenue,
- Rankin Place from Tate to Mendenhall streets,
- and Tate Street from Market Street to Gate City Boulevard.
In addition, Spring Street, just east of the neighborhood, will be repaved from West McGee Street to Fisher Avenue.
Dates for the work have not been determined. Jeff has informed the Engineering and Inspections Department of streets that have excess crown heights and/or insufficient curb heights. On Carr Street, for example, the curbs are only a couple inches high after previous street repavings.
New Carr Street sidewalk possible
In contrast to the city Transportation Department’s years of obstruction and foot-dragging on the South Mendenhall project, the city is taking the initiative on a problem on Carr Street between Tate and McIver streets. The block will be studied to see whether a sidewalk can be constructed on the south side of the street. Pedestrians coming up the west side of Tate Street from the business district often turn down Carr and walk on the side of the street with no sidewalk, rather than crossing Carr, walking down the side of the street with a sidewalk and then crossing back again at McIver if they’re on their way to the Sullivan Science Building, the School of Nursing or other points to the south. The high volume of vehicles, often including heavy trucks, coming up Carr Street from the campus continually results in a hazardous situation for pedestrians walking in the street.
A new sidewalk would require moving the curb on the south side of the block about 8 feet into the street and eliminating five parking spaces on the north side. The new sidewalk would be about 150 feet long. The feasibility of such a project will need to be determined before a decision can be made to go ahead with it.