Canton proposes downtown pedestrian improvements

fr cantonWhen Canton town officials were notified that the North Carolina Department of Transportation would be repaving all of Main Street starting in May, they knew it was the right time to complete some much-needed pedestrian improvement projects in downtown.

Getting around town: Franklin focuses on making town more walkable

out franklinFranklin has sidewalks, bike trails and a beautiful greenway to encourage residents and visitors to walk or bike around town, but those assets aren’t as valuable unless the town can find a better way to connect them.

Fry Street closure — disaster or dream come true?

fr frystThere was barely room to breathe in Bryson City Town Hall on Monday night.

Funding likely for sidewalk on U.S. 441

fr 441sidewalksThe future is looking bright for plans to build a sidewalk along U.S. 441 where Jackson County meets Cherokee, with funding recently approved from state contingency funds.

If we build it, will they stay? Bryson City pedestrian plaza waiting for town approval

fr fryestreetThe Great Smoky Mountain Railroad introduces new people to all that Bryson City has to offer throughout the year, yet many locals are still not on board with the changes the train has brought with it.

Proposed Cullowhee development standards get revised

Following a pair of community input sessions in October, proposed planning regulations for the Cullowhee area have been tweaked a bit. 

“Relatively minor revisions to text and to maps,” explained Jackson County Planning Director Gerald Green. 

Franklin chews on traffic: Study looks at parking, crosswalks on Main Street

fr franklinDowntown Franklin is sporting some fresh paint after an October decision to spruce up the fading road lines, but over the winter town aldermen will be considering some changes that could be a tad more noticeable.

“During the winter when things slow down a little bit, it will give us time to think about it in more depth,” said Mayor Bob Scott. 

New apartment rules set the stage for a safer walk to campus for WCU students

The advent of three large student apartment complexes around Western Carolina University in the past few years has prompted concern in Cullowhee over increased traffic.

Waynesville wants input on plan for North Main, Walnut streets

fr corridorAs Waynesville pedestrians mosey down North Main Street toward Walnut Street on their way home or to one of the businesses along the road, they get to a point where the sidewalk ends, where they must walk on grass or through parking lots and contend with vehicular traffic to get to where they are going.

Parking, pedestrians and crosswalks, oh my

Fix a problem, create a new one. That’s how the cookie has crumbled lately in Sylva.

When the town board ordered business owners and their employees to keep their cars out of coveted parking spaces on Main and Mill streets so shoppers could frequent shops, the parking problems shifted to nearby side streets.

This, of course, was before Sylva town commissioners received the startling news they’d passed an unenforceable ordinance (see accompanying article). But, since they plan to correct that booboo soon, business owners in the newly congested parking area are left wondering what can be done to help them out, too.

Parking has become a particular issue in front of City Lights Bookstore, an independent bookseller on East Jackson Street. Chris Wilcox said he’s seeing downtown employees fill the limited number of spaces available in front of the bookstore. He and his employees park at the nearby Methodist Church, and they are trying to let customers know that they can park there, too, except during church events.

Town commissioners aren’t unsympathetic. They’ve acknowledged during the past two meetings that City Lights and other side-street enterprises are getting parking fallout from the new ordinance, passed (well, passed but unenforceable) this summer.

It looks like side streets could be added to the ordinance, or, as it were, Ordinance Take 2. Commissioners seem loath to rush into things. Once burned, twice shy?

•••

“I know parking is a very sensitive issue,” Reuben Moore, a division operations engineer for the state Department of Transportation, astutely noted at last week’s town board meeting.

This before telling commissioners the parking on Main Street is creating some visual danger at crosswalks. As in, motorists can’t always see pedestrians stepping off onto crosswalks.

Additionally, there are simply too many crosswalks in Sylva, Moore told commissioners.

“We really have crosswalks that are on top of one another,” he said.

Commissioner Harold Hensley continued to push for a “please-don’t-run-over-the-pedestrians” sign at the end of Main Street. This where two lanes drop to one, and cars jockey for position — all while unaware pedestrians attempt to pass from one side of the street to another, via a crosswalk.

After a bit of minor and friendly negotiating, the town agreed to eliminate one parking space in return for the transportation department putting up a warning sign. That will make it easier, Moore said, for motorists to see pedestrians.

Additionally, a committee will be formed to review the overall crosswalk dilemma.

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