As reconstruction on the first section of Madison Avenue nears, rules for how drivers and business will use the redesigned road are becoming clearer.
When the city of Greenwood announced plans at the beginning of the year to do a full, $12.5 million reconstruction of Madison Avenue in between Smith Valley and County Line roads, a concern from drivers and business owners was how one of the major proposed changes to the road — eliminating the center turn lane — would impact traffic. City officials decided to eliminate that lane in certain sections to make room for widened trails with space for pedestrians and bicyclists.
That question resurfaced as members of the Greenwood Redevelopment Commission are beginning the final steps to approve funding the first section of work between Pearl and Noble streets, expected to cost between $2 million and $3 million. Redevelopment commission members Chuck Landon and Bryan Harris both said they had received questions from residents and business owners about how traffic would need to adjust to the proposed changes, and that they wanted to make sure that answer was clear before funding was approved.
One major concern for businesses has been the ability to find space to park semi-trucks that bring in deliveries of food and merchandise. The solution the city has settled on is that trucks will no longer be allowed to park on Madison Avenue, Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers said.
The current arrangement for many businesses lining Madison Avenue was to have delivery trucks park in the center turn lane because their parking lots didn’t have room to accommodate semis. While the city has allowed that practice to go on for many years, parking in the center of the street is dangerous, illegal and needs to come to an end, he said.
“We have to think of public safety first,” Myers said.
Delivery companies will need to use smaller trucks that can fit in the existing parking lots or have semi-trucks park off of Madison Avenue along side streets, such as West Wiley Street or Euclid Avenue, to make deliveries, Myers said.
For the past several months, city officials have been working with business owners to address concerns about the re-construction project. Outside of a few holdouts, the majority are now on board with the plans, Myers said.
For Scott Eanes, who owns Take Root Country Store at 202 N. Madison Ave., his primary concern is simply that the city makes sure that businesses are aware of when different sections of the work are happening so that they can communicate with their customers about how to get to the businesses, he said.
The redevelopment commission is set to vote on whether to request bids for the work in January. In February, the commission would then vote on whether to approve the funding for the project, with construction expected to run from April through September.