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Hal Greer Blvd. design tackles safety

March 22, 2019 GMT

HUNTINGTON — The final concept design for the Hal Greer Boulevard Corridor Plan was presented to the public Thursday evening at the A.D. Lewis Community Center in Huntington, as project planners hope to transform the major roadway into a continuous gateway into the city that meets the needs of the communities it runs through.

Stantec, a global design firm, designed the project. Mike Rutlowski, a project manager and engineer with Stantec, said the design works primarily to address the community’s major concerns — the No. 1 issue being crossing the road safely.

“We’re trying to redesign it to incorporate built-in traffic calming,” Rutlowski said. “People have a tendency to speed, and we want them to know they’re entering into an environment that is pedestrian-first.”

The design suggests planted medians and other traffic-calming techniques to slow down drivers. It also fixates on intersection treatments, high visibility crosswalks, pedestrian countdowns and lighting to make Hal Greer Boulevard more walkable and promote pedestrian safety.

A 10-foot-wide multiuse path is planned to run the entire length of Hal Greer from Washington Boulevard to 3rd Avenue, and a protected bike lane is planned from 8th Avenue to 3rd Avenue. The protected bike lane uses parking to buffer from the street, which would put in 57 new parking spaces.

The design also addresses the offset streets that cross Hal Greer Boulevard where the back-to-back stoplights are, which Rutlowski said came from community feedback.

At the Washington Boulevard intersection, an activity park is planned to act as a gateway into the city and would ideally connect to the Paul Ambrose Trail for Health into Ritter Park.

The design accomplishes all of these modifications without taking any more rights of way (acquiring more space than the state already owns).

The next step, though, is to fund the project. Rutlowski said he hopes turning Hal Greer Boulevard into a complete street will prompt the private sector to invest in attractive businesses that give the boulevard a sense of place, which will in turn promote the pedestrian-centric concept once it comes to fruition.

“We put public dollars into this. We naturally expect reinvestment from the private sector,” Rutlowski said. “We want to encourage that, and we want it done right. We want it done tastefully.”

A meeting will take place in April to discuss how to phase and fund the project. No date has been set.

Camiros, the urban planning and development firm heading the Fairfield Innovation Project that is connected to the Hal Greer Boulevard project, will have a meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 28, at the A.D. Lewis Community Center to discuss the development of the old Northcott Court lot.

Follow reporter Megan Osborne on Twitter and Facebook @megosborneHD.