Wheels are turning on Glade Road work

08/19/2014 12:58 PM

08/19/2014 12:59 PM

The city and residents are trying to iron out differences over improvements to Glade Road, after the city council had already decided to limit the project.

Council members went intersection by intersection at an Aug. 6 work session to find compromises and residents also chimed in about the importance of protecting trees and adding walking amenities without disturbing the road’s character or overstepping property owners’ land.

The city had the meeting after three council members heard that residents were confused about Glade Road’s status after a decision earlier this summer to improve only one mile instead of four.

“I thought it would be great for us to have a chance to visit one more time and see if there was an opportunity to come together in a way,” councilman Chuck Mogged said.

“One thing I’m convinced as I listened to folks is we are actually really united around a couple of things.”

After a series of public hearings and meeting the city in June decided to reduce the project to cover only the segment of Glade from Bransford Road to Manning Drive.

Construction is scheduled to start in summer 2015.

Leaders were unable to reach consensus on what to do on the rest of the road in terms of drainage, turn lanes and amenities. They opted to do maintenance only.

At the work session, council members started by discussing portions that they agreed on and began to make design decisions, piece by piece.

Mayor David Kelly said he was pleased.

“The purpose of just minimizing the scope was that we weren’t making any headway,” Kelly said. “Now we’re making a lot more.”

Based on the council’s recommendations, city staff members are revising the funding and construction schedules.

The city will also hire an arborist to evaluate the impact on trees from Montclair Street to Manning Drive, as an effort to protect the road’s rural feel.

“There seems to be a general consensus that it’s important to fix Glade Road and through some discussion and what appeared to be compromises we will probably approach that on a section-by-section basis going forward,” City Manager Jennifer Fadden said.

The goal is to improve mobility and safety along the two-lane road. Residents have criticized the concept plan’s inclusion of sidewalks and trails, worried that pedestrian amenities would increase the project’s width and take land from those who live along Glade.

Residents Bobby Lindamood and Elizabeth Zeitlin were at the Aug. 6 session and have championed the cause to improve mobility while protecting the road’s character and citizen’s property rights.

Lindamood held up a petition on a clipboard asking the city to limit changes to Glade Road, but he has not formally submitted it to the city.

Zeitlin said the group wants to work with the city instead. Zeitlin said they have more than 1,000 signatures, which is greater than the 823 needed for a formal petition.

If the city receives the petition, council members can adopt its wording to only add a 5-foot sidewalk on the south side of the road, add left turn lanes and roundabouts based on area residents approval and to prohibit medians, the widening of Glade or filling in bar ditches that could kill mature trees or flood homes.

Or the city can bring the petition to the community for a vote on the ballot of the next available election.

Zietlin said the new level of working together should have happened earlier, but she was happy to have her voice heard.

“We were representing the whole city,” she said. “We’re not just representing our sections.”

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