Major changes coming to downtown Salisbury as City Council approves Main Street Plan

Major makeover coming to Main Street in downtown Salisbury

SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) - Major changes will be coming to downtown Salisbury after the City Council unanimously approved the modified Main Street Plan. The project includes a restriping and concept plan, both approved at the City Council meeting on Tuesday night.

Phase I of the plan is a Striping Plan which what can be accomplished within the street (between the curbs) using paint only. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NC DOT) owns and maintains the roadway, and this section of Main Street is on their schedule to be resurfaced in 2021. The Striping Plan is what the City provides to NC DOT to tell them how paint the lines back after resurfacing has happened.

Phase II of the plan is a Master Plan, or the concept plan for what could be built in the future to re-envision the street in a way that tries to strike a balance between being more pedestrian and bicycle friendly, providing space for on-street parking, while still allowing traffic to move through without increased delay.

The idea to make changes along Main St. took an important step in the summer of 2019 when the City of Salisbury hired McAdams, a professional engineering and design firm, to design plans to improve the safety, mobility and appearance of a 10 block section of Main Street.

McAdams presented the initial presentation during the Tuesday, Dec. 1 Salisbury City Council meeting. Public input sessions were held, and plans were modified over time.

On its Frequently Asked Questions Page, the city provided an explanation about the change from 4 lanes to 3 on Main Street:

At early public input sessions (Fall 2019) a primary take-away was that people were concerned about the availability of on-street parking. Changing the angle of the parking from the current, shallow 30 degree angle to a proposed, steeper 45 degree angle allows more cars per block; but it also requires more depth. Fitting more parking in, therefore, requires reducing the number of lanes. It also has the added benefit of being safer. Not only does changing the angle of the parking allow for greater parking space depth (no more truck beds sticking out into the travel lane!), it can improve visibility when backing out. 45 degree angle parking is recommended by NC DOT and exists already on Church Street and Jackson Street surrounding the Bell Tower Green.

Traffic studies support the transition from 4 travel lanes to 3 travel lanes. Traffic counts documenting volume and turning movements were completed at every intersection in the study area. Comparing current “levels of service” (an engineering term to describe delay due to traffic) to the proposed, traffic analysis models found very little change in the “levels of service” at all intersections.

NCDOT’s striping of Main St. is scheduled for late Spring. The project will take approximately two weeks, and major work will occur overnight. For a period of time, temporary pavement markings will be in place.

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