HIGH POINT, N.C. -- With a contractor and additional funds lined up, the City of High Point will soon begin making pedestrian improvements at the intersection of North Main Street and Hillcrest Place.
Mark McDonald, transportation director for the City of High Point, explained how the safety plan started.
"It was initially requested when Brown Truck Brewery opened on North Main Street. But there has been some increase in pedestrian activity in that area with some of the other businesses as well," McDonald said.
In the next few weeks, the crosswalk at North Main Street and Hillcrest Place will be moved back about 10 to 12 feet. This will allow crews to install wheelchair-friendly ramps and move the crosswalk away from a drainage basin. McDonald added that the new walkway will also get a brick-like finish, making it stand out to drivers and walkers. There's a similar finish on the crosswalk at North Main Street and Montlieu Avenue.
"It attracts the pedestrian eye as well," McDonald said. "It gives them a clear indication of where they should be walking across the street."
Alex's House sits at the intersection of North Main Street and Hillcrest Place. Stamatis Asrrimanolis, owner of Alex's house, said safety improvements are needed at the crosswalk that's just a few steps outside of his door.
"It's really dangerous and you have to be careful. I always tell the customers and employees to double check and be careful while they cross," Asrrimanolis said.
McDonald said contractors should begin working on the $40,000 to $50,000 safety project in the next few weeks. Drivers should expect some delays while driving on North Main Street.
Just down the way, McDonald describes the intersection of North Main Street and Lexington Avenue.
"It's an intersection with that kind of traffic, it could be difficult for pedestrians to cross. So we want to give them the safest possible means to use the traffic signal to cross," McDonald said.
Between 20,000 to 25,000 vehicles a day drive along North Main Street. Safety plans call for installing crosswalks and traffic islands at the intersection. This type of design resembles the intersection of North Main Street and Hartley Drive. Teams will also install traffic light poles similar to the ones at North Main Street and Montlieu Avenue.
Crews will also upgrade the electrical, sewer and water lines at North Main Street and Lexington Avenue. At the same time, McDonald said workers will install underground pathways that will help improve the look of the city.
"So at some future date when we relocate the overhead power lines underground, we will already have a duct bank underground through the intersection to route that cabling through," McDonald said.
Some people walking on North Main Street said they like the idea of underground power lines more than safer intersections.
"The telephone poles and all the wires make the town look old. Newer communities have their utility lines buried," one pedestrian said.
The safety improvements at North Main Street and Lexington Avenue is more complicated than the work at North Main Street and Hillcrest Place. McDonald said there's a good chance Lexington Avenue will have to be closed at North Main Street. Additionally, North Main Street could be reduced to one lane in each direction. Safety enhancements at North Main Street and Lexington Avenue are scheduled to begin after the spring High Point Market.