Construction of the brick-paved and granite-curbed island — smack in the middle of what is also State Highway 68/70 — is nearly complete. In the next couple of weeks, town officials say two large planters, or jardinières, will be installed on each of the island's narrow ends, to act as traffic barriers.
However, some residents question if that will be enough to keep pedestrians and cyclists safe from the thousands of cars which use the road daily. A traffic engineer told the Planning and Zoning Commission in January that up to 1,200 cars travel that stretch of road during the weekday morning rush hours and up to 2,000 cars use it during peak evening hours, and on Saturdays.
Town Council Chairman Tim Slocum said at this week's council meeting that he thinks the newly painted stripes near the traffic island aren't enough. "The stripes are too limited. We need broader visual stripes that span the road to show you're approaching it," he said.
Councilor Patti Flynn-Harris responded that the work isn't finished yet. "We'll have other stripes similar to (South) Brooksvale," Road, she said. So-called "traffic calming" lines were painted on both sides of the pedestrian crossing on South Brooksvale Road last autumn to alert drivers to the upcoming slow zone.
Pedestrians, however, won’t need the West Main Street crosswalk, anytime soon. Design and fieldwork for the extension from Cornwall Avenue to West Main Street is underway, but it's moving slowly.
The state Department of Transportation will pay for the construction of the trail's extension, which measures less than a mile. Economic Development Coordinator Gerald Sikto said design concepts are underway, but the wetlands on the property are a challenge.