With every problem there is a solution, but for Petty Road, both Mayor Dennis Tyler and City Superintendent Duke Campbell said they have their hands tied.
Petty Road reaches west of campus and has caused some major issues for both vehicles and pedestrians and residents of the area are not happy with the amount of traffic the narrow road attracts.
“We have had complaints for 30 years about not having sidewalks and the traffic coming through there – with students walking and biking through there with no sidewalk access,” Tyler said. “It’s time we do something. The vehicular traffic going through there is getting worse continuously and so many people are using that as a cut through to get over to Tillotson [Avenue].”
Because of these issues, many residence of the area have reached out to Tyler to voice there concerns.
Since then, Tyler and Campbell have sat down with a neighborhood association to talk about what’s wrong, and what will work best for them.
One idea Campbell brought had up in the past is the possibility of the widening the road between the edge of campus and Briar road. But not every resident is happy with every proposed solution.
“Everyone has their own issues, it seems like every idea we've had so far does not work,” Campbell said. “But if we do any major reconstruction or sidewalk work, we would have to get into people’s front yards or back yards and a lot of people don’t want that. A couple of them don’t care, but the conversation and issue is not going to go away.”
While the idea was not a popular one, it is still a possibility, but Tyler said there might already be enough space to make the area safer with out widening the road.
“We have an enormous amount of right away space right through that area that most people don’t realize,” Tyler said. “We have 45 feet of right away space there on Petty Road so that’s going to give us an opportunity to explore some ideas on what we can do to make that safer there for pedestrians and bicycles, and also calm traffic through there.”
When the city measures how wide the road it is compared to how wide it could be, it’s still apparent that the city would have to infringe on land that residents are using. Tyler said this is because their properties have taken up the city’s right of way with land usage.
“We know we can widen but we don’t want to create a major road out of Petty,” Campbell said. “It’s a highly traveled road and that road is just not made for that kind of traffic, that’s just the bottom line.”
Another idea proposed by Mayor Tyler was to include a new walking trail to the north, along Cardinal Creek from Tillotson Avenue to McKinley Avenue, to help draw pedestrian traffic from Petty.
The walking trail, or linear walk way also came with dispositions.
“I personally like the thought of the linear walk way that would create a pathway, and I would have thought that would have been a good idea for everyone,” Campbell said. “But the problem with closing [Petty Street access], the northern half of the residence of Petty wouldn’t have hardly any way out.
As for now, the area is on hold.
“Right now, there is nothing definite,” Campbell said. “Everything is still on the table and I am sure that we are going to have another meeting or two with all the residents and maybe then a discussion can be made.”
While there are no definite plans for Petty Road as of now, the city can expect to see major construction changes elsewhere throughout the summer going into the fall.
“We have got 35-37 miles of roads on the plans for paving, plans for new sidewalks and sidewalk constructions,” Tyler said. “As the weather is breaking, we will be getting stared on that as quickly as we can.”
One change to the city, notable for those on campus, is the repaving of Riverside and University Avenues this summer, after years of not being resurfaced.
Another project the Major is currently having Campbell and the city street department work on is finishing up Madison Street from Kirby Avenue to Wysor Street with sidewalks and new pavement.
The Village could even see change, as Campbell said the department is interested in getting roads resurfaced in that area.
“We are constantly looking at ways to get more roads resurfaced, more sidewalks and [to get] into neighborhoods,” Campbell said. “With state money that we can get, those things accomplished.”