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Monroe 8th Street Project - Pedestrian-Friendly Planning

Fehr Graham was recently commissioned by the City of Monroe to provide designs for the complete reconstruction of 8th Street, which runs along Monroe’s business district and connects the downtown to the west side of town. This major artery was in need of repair stemming from years of heavy use.  The traffic from numerous stores and restaurants on either side of the street contributed to the need for rehabilitation.  8th Street had pushed past its estimated life expectancy and, in addition to the constantly worsening deterioration, the roadway’s undersized utilities were overdue for an upgrade. Moreover, the 8th Street corridor to the downtown area did not have adequate pedestrian-friendly access.
 
A good road system, especially along business corridors, is a priority for most growing communities. Without dependable roads for suppliers, employees, and customers to commute on, businesses in small or rural communities begin to fail and either close down or relocate, dealing a blow to the local economy. Additionally, a pedestrian-friendly corridor has a positive impact on safety and traffic flow. Smooth accessible sidewalks allow pedestrians to avoid walking in the roads, keeping them safe and cars moving.
 
Since 8th Street serves as a gateway to the downtown business corridor, emphasis was placed on a pedestrian friendly design for this project. “8th Street is in the heart of the business district and contains only segments of sidewalk that do not span the entire length of the project,” says Project Engineer Jesse Duff of our Monroe Office. “Many ramps and street crossings do not provide safe access for those with disabilities.”  Mobility for everyone is a key component of a thriving society.  Because Monroe’s downtown district is a city cultivated tourist destination, this is especially important. “This (project) will be an extension of the 8th/9th Street project.  It was constructed in 2011 and replaced dilapidated infrastructure.”  Duff explains “it also expanded pedestrian access and decorative accents from the downtown square project including new sidewalk, striped bike lanes, and decorative street lights.” When coupled with safe, resourceful roadway design, these kinds of additions make a notable difference in the way a community is perceived by residents and visitors, and can infuse new life into the even the dustiest commercial district.
 
At Fehr Graham, we believe in promoting a positive, community-friendly work environment. City staff will be providing some traffic control assistance for the duration of the construction work, which will be done under staged construction so the road will not be closed to traffic. The goal of this joint venture is to avoid any potentially negative impacts on the numerous businesses located along the corridor. As part of the aforementioned ‘reinvigoration’ process, stamped concrete, traffic signal upgrades, and decorative street lights will be added, as well as extended pedestrian access. Electric lines will be moved underground along the corridor. The intention is not to fix the roadway, but to make it better, more efficient, and more beautiful than ever. “With regards to these changes,” Duff notes, “a more pedestrian friendly roadway will be provided to the community, creating a smoother ride and enhancing the appearance of the business corridor. These are the things people will notice.”

The City of Monroe enlisted Fehr Graham to perform the preliminary design services for the complete reconstruct of 8th Street from Highway 69 to the intersection of 6th Avenue West.

As a function of the  preliminary design, Fehr Graham will provide many of the services needed: such as surveying, structure, inventory, and preliminary layout/cost estimates for storm sewer replacement; water main replacement; sanitary sewer lining/replacement; road pavement/base replacement; traffic signal upgrades; sidewalk replacement/streetscape; and a fiber duct package.

The project is on track with the delivery of the topographic survey, structure inventory, and soils report in July 2014 with construction anticipated in 2015. The plan includes having overhead electric lines buried along the roadway and the downtown streetscape continuing throughout 8th Street. To address the possibility of traffic growth or need for road reconstruction in the future, a roundabout feasibility study will also be included. In the interest of proactivity, the City of Monroe is considering the option of a city-owned duct package along the corridor, in which they can contract with public utilities. They also hope to eventually provide a network of ducts throughout the City.

Fehr Graham is excited to be a part of transforming communities. Of course, our business is environmental and engineering, but we are proud to be known as a company that values people. Whether it is our personnel, our clients, or our communities, we are committed to serving them all well. 

Ask Us
For more information on planning for pedestian-friendly walkways and streets, please contact us at 815-235-7643.  

 

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