Councilman Kling opposes changes along Williams Ave near Big Spring

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - After nearly two years of delays, Huntsville's newest downtown hotel is almost finished. But one city councilor is worried about potential delays in traffic as the city makes changes to the road running along Big Spring Park.

Work is feverishly happening to finish the soon to be AC Marriott hotel in downtown Huntsville.

"That hotel is scheduled to open in January and they're booking rooms now," Huntsville's director of urban and economic development Shane Davis said.

Orange cones and barrels line both sides of Williams Avenue as traffic along Big Spring Park moves at a steady pace. The city is making some traffic changes in anticipation of the new CityCentre.

"We've got a lot of momentum in our downtown, the last thing we want is a bad project or a bad decision," Davis said.

"We're basically talking about two lanes coming into one," Councilman Bill Kling said.

Kling wanted a resolution to keep two lanes of traffic flowing along Williams and in front of the Von Braun Center. Right now, Williams becomes one lane heading east in front of the new hotel.

"You may have drivers who become impatient and you may have pedestrians who try to cut in between cars," Kling said.

Councilman Kling's concern was that by reducing lanes along Williams, you'd bottleneck traffic along what will be a very busy part of town. Davis says they do expect more foot traffic once the new hotel and restaurants are finished, but by reducing lanes and adding more street parking, he says it'll make it easier for people to cross the street safely.

"And if you want a vibrant downtown, as one of the council members referenced, you're not going to have that until pedestrians are dominant and automobiles take a backseat to pedestrians," Huntsville city administrator John Hamilton said.

Kling's resolution was voted down at Thursday evening's meeting, which means the construction and the development next to the park will continue as planned.

The new AC Marriott is expected to open in January. Davis expects the restaurants will open next spring.