Plan gives some pause: New home construction prompts worry

Shawna Kikendall likes riding her bike on Franklin’s Greenway Trail, and would like to be able to go from her home in the Heritage neighborhood to downtown Franklin.

But because of the lack of bike lanes and more extensive trails, Kikendall doesn’t like making the trek across busy State Road 44.

“It’s just not safe for anyone, so I would definitely like to see a safer way to get into town,” Kikendall said.

Kikendall was one of more than a dozen Franklin residents who gave feedback about roads, bridges, bike lanes and trails. Residents were asked to go through four interactive stations, which included a survey, a prioritization of transportation-related issues, questions about how they would invest in funding improvements and existing infrastructure concerns. City officials have been working on the plan for three months to get a rough draft of what they believed the top concerns would be, but wanted residents, local workers and those who often visit the city to have a say.

“We want to know what your concerns are in regards to traffic, what roads are too narrow, future opportunities and where you see those opportunities to need improvement,” Chris Hamm, HWC engineering consultant, said.

The thoroughfare plan is used to develop plans to improve roads, bridges, bike lanes and trails, as well as apply for state and local grants. It also helps attract developers by showing the city’s focus on infrastructure improvements, Hamm said.

After receiving feedback from residents, the group will narrow the concerns and host another public meeting in the fall. They will focus on the top concerns voiced by constituents and align them with the top concerns of the city. For example, if city officials want to see more roundabouts, and so do residents, roundabouts will become a top priority.

Matthew Keeton lives on Yandes Street, one of the last brick streets in Franklin. He said in the past 50 years, four mayors have wanted to pave over it — but he’s determined to keep its historical charm.

“I emailed the current mayor on his first day in office to make sure he had the priority of keeping it. He said he would preserve it or repair it, but I’m always scared of the repair and preservation because it can take the charm out of it,” Keeton said.

Other major concerns include improvements in street appearance, more sidewalks and ways to slow down traffic and make it safer for pedestrians, such as speed bumps and crosswalks. The thoroughfare plan is expected to be finalized by the end of the year.

At a glance

The city would like to know what infrastructure changes you would like to see.

To voice your opinion, contact Mark Richards, city engineer, at mrichards@franklin.in.gov.

Another public feedback meeting will take place in the fall.