BY: MELISSA ATHERTON
The first Mobility Plan Community Conversation is this Thursday, 2/8, 6-8:30 pm at Davidson United Methodist Church. The charrette process will be held the first week of March. What priorities will the citizens of Davidson highlight? What priorities have already been created by town staff and the mobility study consulting firm? What will the intersection of these priorities look like (pun intended)?
Alta Planning and Town of Davidson Senior Planner, Travis Johnson, are managing the project. The firm is geared toward pedestrian and bicycle movement rather than focusing on major car traffic and road improvement issues. According to altaplanning.com, “Alta Planning + Design is North America’s leading multimodal transportation firm that specializes in design, planning, and implementation of bicycle, pedestrian, greenway, park, and trail corridors and systems.”
A quick drive through the Village in Davidson reveals a surprising number of streets without sidewalks (33 at last count). Given that we lack sidewalks, and Alta focuses on walking/biking paths, it seems that the first priority is to address “Where the Sidewalk Ends”.
This all seems pretty self-explanatory. The list above includes some, but not all, of the streets lacking sidewalks. Adding five-foot sidewalks would encourage walking, reduce car traffic, and help keep our residents safe. Our vulnerable population of children, elderly and disabled citizens should be a high priority.
The Town of Davidson has provided approximately $25,000 for the Alta study and Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization (CRTPO) has funded the remaining $100,000 through a grant. Just for kicks, how many sidewalks could we have built with $125,000? See the below chart for an estimate. Nearly 2 Catawba Avenues worth could have been poured!
Maybe we can start building sidewalks rather than paying firms to study our town and tell us we need sidewalks? One way we could save money is to build five-foot sidewalks all over town, rather than using eminent domain to build ten-foot, Big Fat Sidewalks in the front yards of historic homes.
Plan to listen, brainstorm and comment on mobility this month.