Huntsville conducting bike and pedestrian safety study at Memorial Parkway intersections

Huntsville

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The City of Huntsville is contracting Barge Design Solutions to study Memorial Parkway intersections for future bike and pedestrian safety improvements.

On Wednesday night, residents had an opportunity to take part in the conversation and suggest improvements for 14 intersections along Memorial Parkway.

“The Parkway is kind of like the Rio Grande or something, it’s hard to cross for pedestrians or bikes. Anywhere up and down it,” says Bicycle Advisory Safety Committee member, Janie Miernik.

Huntsville City planners say Memorial Parkway is really good at moving cars through the city but it creates a major divide for pedestrians and cyclists trying to go from east to west.

Huntsville Urban & Long-Range Planning Manager Dennis Madsen says as the city of Huntsville grows, they want to make these interchanges more bike and pedestrian-friendly.

“What we want to do is look at the interchanges up and down the parkway to make these not just car-friendly, but also bike and pedestrian-friendly,” says Dennis Madsen.

Janie Miernik is an avid cyclist. She says the study is desperately needed to improve connectivity throughout the city.

“We have a north-south corridor that has really wide and not very well designed intersections through all these places on the Parkway. Great for cars to zoom around the corner really fast. But not so great for pedestrians or bikes,” says Bicycle Advisory Safety Committee, Janie Miernik.

Madsen says each intersection is different, and there isn’t going to be a blanket fix for all, but one thing is certain… change is needed.

“You can go out there anecdotally and see folks sort of trying to make their way from a corner where there is no sidewalk, across multiple lanes of traffic to a concrete refuge, to kind of get across there,” says Madsen.

Madsen says the public input session is a start, but in the future, engineers will zoom in and prioritize changes to specific intersections.

“Every single one if you drive them and really look at them, every single one is a little bit different, every single one has its own challenges,” says Madsen.

Barge Consultants will go intersection by intersection and make a suggested series of improvements before a big picture plan is rolled out online for the public to see.

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