Street Committee to decide on Center Street sidewalk improvements, MLK trail crossing

Center Street restaurant owners could soon offer outdoor seating if a proposal to widen is the sidewalks is approved.

Photo: Todd Gill, Flyer staff

The Fayetteville City Council’s Street Committee is set to make two major decisions during its regular meeting Tuesday evening.

Center Street sidewalk improvements

First on the agenda is a review of alternate design concepts and a presentation of comments from a recent public meeting regarding the Center Street sidewalk improvement project.

Option 1

Option 2

Original design

City officials had planned a basic sidewalk replacement project on Center Street between College Avenue and the square, but several downtown business owners asked that an alternative concept be considered.

Instead of simply removing and replacing the existing nine-foot sidewalks, the group advocated for a new design that will provide wider sidewalk areas to allow for streetside cafes and other amenities.

About 25 people attended a public meeting last week to review two alternate designs.

One design includes concrete “bumpouts” which would increase the width of the nine-foot sidewalks to about 16 feet in certain spots, but would eliminate seven of 24 parking spaces. Another design would remove all 13 parking spaces on the south side on the street and widen the entire stretch of sidewalk on that side to 20 feet.

During the meeting, several property owners and business owners argued over the designs. Some supported the proposed changes while others said they preferred to stick with the original plan.

Ron Woodruff, who owns a law office on the north side of Center Street, said he opposed any design that requires removing on-street parking.

“We don’t have enough parking spaces there now, and I don’t see any use doing away with the ones we’ve got,” said Woodruff. “We have people who come and go all day and they need a place to park.”

Saleh Faur, who owns Petra Cafe on the south side of Center Street, said besides increasing foot traffic, wider sidewalks and cafe seating could help some restaurants more easily serve senior citizens and customers with disabilities.

“That’s one of our biggest dilemmas out there is the accessibility of these places,” said Faur, whose customers – as well as patrons of Taste of Thai – must first climb a set of seven stairs before entering the restaurant.

Trail crossing at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard

For more detail on the three options being considered, see our June 8 story.

Graphic: Todd Gill, Flyer staff

The second item on the committee’s agenda is to decide how Frisco Trail users will cross Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

The crossing is part of an upcoming project that will extend the trail south to Walker Park.

Options include a 140-foot, lighted tunnel; an at-grade crossing; and a 20-foot-tall bridge with 310-foot ramps on each side.

The tunnel proposal was endorsed by city staff, project engineers, the Active Transportation Advisory Board, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and the majority of residents who responded to a public survey in June.

If approved, the tunnel would be built exclusively for the trail, similar to the 270-foot tunnel under Garland Avenue (see photos here) for the newly opened Meadow Valley Trail.

The Street Committee meeting will immediately follow Tuesday’s Equipment Committee meeting and the City Council’s agenda-setting session which is set for 4:30 p.m. inside City Hall room 326.