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Posted July 2, 2012 | 13 Comments
Streetscape islands fuel council debate
By Alex Bridges -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Design for the Downtown Streetscape Enhancement Project received some tweaking by Strasburg Town Council members Monday.
A consensus of council at a work session did not favor a traffic-calming island on East King Street as currently designed. Instead, members recommended the town go back to the firm designing the project in the hopes they would remove the island and install other measures along the north and south sides of the road.
Town staff recommended the design include islands both at the east and west ends of the downtown streetscape project on King Street. But few council members supported the islands.
Councilwoman Sarah Mauck distributed drawings she made after council's recent infrastructure committee meeting, which included columns along the street as well as other landscape features. Mauck also recommended that the town embrace the industrial area on the east end of King Street and suggested that Valley Milk enhance the sign on its butter manufacturing plant to make it more visible to travelers.
Several residents spoke in opposition to the island which, if constructed, would eliminate five parking spaces along the south side of King Street in front of the Strasburg Murseum. Also some residents questioned whether an island with a tree or two planted inside would prompt traffic to slow down as it traveled into the downtown. Several council members agreed.
Town Manager Judson Rex and Mayor Timothy Taylor reassured council members and people in the audience that Strasburg officials can and likely will continue to tweak the streetscape designs and not at any additional cost. However, Taylor did note that at some point council will need to approve a design for the project.
A second island proposed for installation on King Street near the Handy Mart and Sharpe Street drew more debate and divided council between those in favor and those who said the construction likely would sustain damage by trucks delivering to the gas station.
Councilman Don Le Vine supported the island on the west end of King Street, noting that council must think in terms of enhancing the entire downtown rather than change the design to suit one business or property owner.
The idea of vehicles damaging parts of the streetscape project also came up during a discussion about proposed bump-outs at intersections. Councilman Robert Baker expressed concern that large trucks could not make the turns created by the bump-outs and would damage the constructions. Baker suggested the town take the money it would spend on bump-outs and use it to pay for some other part of the project.
Also at the work session council members reached a consensus on the phasing of the streetscape project. Construction should first occur on both sides of King Street between Fort and Holliday streets, council members concurred.