07/29/13 — Downtown decision

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Downtown decision

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on July 29, 2013 1:46 PM

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This photo taken from the roof of City Hall shows Center Street at its intersection with Mulberry Street, where the first phase of Streetscape ends and the second phase will begin. A free-flowing roundabout will replace the intersection and traffic lights. Brick walkways in front of buildings will remain to keep cost down and allow for business as usual. Old landscaping and parking spaces will be reworked with a mix of angled and parallel parking, preserving more parking than the first phase of Streetscape while including a thinner green space in the median.

Although there are differences between the first and second phases of Streetscape along Center Street, the Goldsboro Planning Department development services director said the two phases will work well together.

The design for the next phase was approved during the last City Council work session July 15.

"Since the beginning we knew that there would be a difference with the first block because all of the off-street parking available," Planning Department Development Services Director Randy Guthrie said.

The businesses along the first phase of Streetscape on Center Street have parking lots off of the road allowing a wider median, which eliminated angular parking in the center in favor of parallel parking.

The buildings along the first block also had corner access points allowing the tearing up of the sidewalk without access considerations.

"The first phase was a pilot phase," Guthrie said. "With the next phase, If we left existing sidewalks, there will be less disruption to businesses."

The next phase of Streetscape will extend two blocks from Mulberry Street down to Chestnut Street.

The first phase of Streetscape, between Ash and Mulberry streets, features all-new brickwork sidewalks to match the courtyard done in front of City Hall, but the second phase will be vastly different. The existing brickwork by the building will be maintained and poured concrete will stretch out to the road completed with a brickwork band on the curb.

"I think (the city) did a good job making it blend in with the accent band on the edge," Guthrie said.

After holding meetings with downtown business owners, the consensus was that they would prefer an all-new brickwork sidewalk for the next phase of Streetscape, but the idea was shot down by the council due to the increased cost.

The increased cost to use new brick would be $200,000 more for the next two blocks of Streetscape.

"I can't see $200,000 of difference here," Councilman Bill Broadaway said during the work session. "In five years, it won't matter."

The decision was made to maintain part of the existing sidewalk to maintain access to the businesses while also saving money on the project overall.

Guthrie said the main reason for the difference between the phases of Streetscape was to preserve parking spaces while also making Center Street more pedestrian-friendly with wider walks.

"The lanes had to line up so that came out of the median," he said.

Guthrie said the plans should meld well together and expects that the third phase of Streetscape will be different than the first two with a "residential feel."

"I think parking will be less of an issue down there with it being residential so that could be a more open space," he said.