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First phases of pedestrian safety project to cost more than $580,000

Pathway along Edwin Miller Boulevard would be 'phenomenal' for Martinsburg's north end

September 05, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A consultant has estimated that construction of the first phases of a pedestrian safety project along one of the busiest roads in the Martinsburg area will cost more than $580,000.

The cost estimate for the project along the south side of Edwin Miller Boulevard between the CVS pharmacy and the West Virginia State Police barrack for the Martinsburg detachment was released Thursday.

"What we need to do (now) is to find matching funds which ... is really, really difficult," said Kathy Mason, the business programs manager for the Berkeley County Development Authority.

The estimated costs include construction of more than 0.8 of a mile of 8-foot-wide sidewalk and the installation of signs, benches, trash receptacles, a transit stop shelter and trees and shrubs. Lighting was not included in the estimate prepared by consulting firm William H. Gordon Associates Inc.

To complete the project's $405,039 first phase, Mason said she needs to find about $80,000 to be eligible for a transportation matching grant.

Mark A. Dyck, director of William H. Gordon Associates' Charles Town office, said the pathway along Edwin Miller Boulevard would be "phenomenal" for the community in Martinsburg's north end.

"It's needed right now," Dyck said. "You see people in motorized wheelchairs on the side of the road."

"We need to get the whole community to that pathway, and we need to start integrating this pedestrian network, so we can get people out of the cars, so we can have safe routes for our kids and for our seniors to cross these really busy roads," Dyck said.

 The average daily traffic along Edwin Miller Boulevard near U.S. 11 was 24,000 vehicles, and near Interstate 81 it was 25,900 vehicles, according to the West Virginia Department of Transportation's 2008 Urban Area Count for Martinsburg.

Along with developing the cost estimate, the consultant suggested future improvements, including:

  • Extension of a pedestrian path along Edwin Miller Boulevard west to McMillan Court and installation of a crosswalk over the boulevard to Warm Springs Avenue.
  • Construction of a path along Warm Springs Avenue from Mid-Atlantic Parkway to Williamsport Pike (U.S. 11) and then south on Williamsport Pike to Edwin Miller Boulevard near the CVS pharmacy.
  • Construction of a path along the north side of Edwin Miller Boulevard past Old Courthouse Square shopping center.
  • Construction of additional paths along District Way between Warm Springs Avenue and Edwin Miller Boulevard and along Lutz Avenue.

The map also depicts the location of future pedestrian paths to be built along Courthouse Drive and Meridian Parkway between Lutz Avenue and the Edwin Miller Boulevard project.  The path to be built along the Raleigh Street Extension, between Edwin Miller Boulevard and Race Street, also is shown.

While Mason is fundraising for the project, an additional study will be undertaken to expand upon what was formally known as the Edwin Miller Boulevard Pedestrian Circulation Review.

The Berkeley County Council Thursday approved a memorandum of understanding with the Hagerstown/Eastern Panhandle Metropolitan Planning Organization that outlines the terms of the expanded study.

The study will be almost triple the size of the original area reviewed, Dyck said. The planning organization has agree to reimburse the county for all but $1,400 of the $7,000 cost of the additional analysis.

Areas generally south to Adams Street and Moler Avenue, west to Gregory Drive and north and east of Interstate 81, will be included in the comprehensive review, which will document the existing pedestrian network to identify needs and opportunities to improve it, under the agreement.

"Honestly, there's no teeth in (the expanded study), but it's a big tool that the county and the city will have as development happens out there," Mason said.

The additional study is expected to build upon the master plan prepared for the sidewalk along Edwin Miller Boulevard, officials said.

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