WCN Meeting Recap: Crosswalks, Planters, Light Rail, etc.

Wards Corner Now had a meeting on April 17, 2010 at the Fitness and Wellness Center.  As is customary with WCN meetings, the facilitator of the meeting is rotated month-to-month.  Dr. Brad Robinson was nice enough to head this meeting.  Topics covered were: Mayor Fraim, Blessed Sacrament, DePaul Medical Center, Norfolk Collegiate, Crosswalks, Planters, Light Rail, Upcoming Elections, and the Agenda’s for the May and June meetings.  Mayor Fraim was present as were City Council candidates Barbara Saunders and Andy Protogyrou.  Below is a short summary, nothing is verbatim.

Mayor Paul Fraim:  The meeting started with Dr. Robinson recognizing Mayor Fraim and asking him to address those present.  The Mayor spoke briefly about his campaign and indicated that he looks forward to things happening soon at Wards Corner.

Blessed Sacrament:  Jim McDonnell reported that Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church is undergoing a renovation and expansion of its social hall.  He expects this to be a nice addition to both the church and our neighborhood.

DePaul Medical Center:  The representative from DePaul declined to attend or provide any updates at this time as they are still in the conceptual phase.  It was reported that charette’s will be held and the surrounding residents will be invited.  The possibility of a traffic circle and a “medical campus” design were also reported by some of those present.

Norfolk Collegiate:  Mr. Kennedy, the headmaster of Norfolk Collegiate, was invited to attend the meeting and provide an update with regards to fundraising and construction of the new Arts center.  Unfortunately he had a prior engagement and he plans on being present at the May meeting.

Proposed Crosswalk at Granby Elementary

Proposed Crosswalk at Granby Elementary

Crosswalks:  Louis Eisenberg reported that he was approached by City Traffic Engineer, Guzin Akan, regarding the construction, or reconstruction, of crosswalks in and around the Wards Corner Business District as well as in front of Granby Elementary School.  He reported that a proposed crosswalk in front of Granby Elementary included “bump outs” where the road would be narrowed to two lanes.  The bumpouts are intended to slow traffic and to create an shorter and safer path for the children to cross.  This crosswalk is expected to cost $59,000.

Proposed Crosswalk Locations

Proposed Crosswalk Locations

In addition, Ms. Akan has identified seven (7) crosswalks in and around the Business District that either need to be added or reconstructed.  To reconstruct the crosswalks with the up-to-date resin product that would match what is located at the intersection of Granby and Little Creek Rd would cost $30,000 – $50,000 for each crosswalk.  The question posed by the City and by those present at the meeting:  Should the City spend money on the crosswalks now or later after construction has completed.  Some compromised solutions were discussed as well, such as just constructing some of the crosswalks now.

Example of "Resin" Crosswalk

Example of "Resin" Crosswalk

Guzin Akan will be at the Taskforce meeting on May 13 to further discuss her proposal.

Planters:  Joan Griffey offered a report on the planters that have been requested for the Business District.  She reported that the holdup is largely caused by the City Manager’s office.  She reported that the Mayor has agreed that we should receive the planters and that he does not believe residents should be required to sign a contract and maintain public planters.  The City Managers office, on the other had, is adamant that some person or group sign a contract to take care of the plants.

Light Rail:  Reference was made to the 2009 Hampton Roads Transit proposal running light rail through Wards Corner.  Both Barbara Saunders and Andy Protogyrou spoke about running light rail down Granby Street from downtown as a way to boost economic development in Riverview, at the zoo, etc.  Andy Protogryou suggested having someone from economic development come talk at the next meeting about the possible routes that light rail may take.

Upcoming Elections: Andy Protogryou and Barbara Saunders gave a short speech about their campaigns for City Council.  They will both be at the Wards Corner Civic League candidate forum on Monday, April 19, 2010 at the Fitness and Wellness Center at 6:45pm.  That will be the last forum scheduled forums for both of their campaigns.

May Meeting Agenda: The next councilperson for Ward 1, Representative from DePaul, Representative from Norfolk Collegiate, possible Guzin Akan.

June Meeting Agenda: Rick Henn?City Development to talk about Light Rail in Wards Corner.

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