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Faded lane markings, bad pavement among citizens' concerns

Faded lane markings on Church and King streets downtown, poor pavement conditions on major routes throughout the city, a new stoplight on U.S. 64 West and better lane guidance through the U.S. 64 West zigzag via Buncombe Street are among the requests City Council members received in the recent series of Council Conversations with the public.

When council members made themselves available to hear from constituents one-on-one in recent weeks, road conditions were among the topics most often mentioned (along with bad driving). City Manager John Connet conveyed the concerns to NCDOT traffic engineer Steve Buchanan, who responded that solutions for several of the traffic concerns were already in the works.

A contractor has refreshed the Church and King street markings as soon as the crew finishes a pavement marking job on I-40 near the Tennessee line.

Lonnie Watkins, the chief NCDOT engineer for Henderson County, updated council members on the roads and safety concerns city residents had raised.

The NCDOT has let a contract for the repaving of Church and King streets that must be completed by October 2021. "It's not just this road," Watkins said. "He has multiple roads he will be responsible for resurfacing."

Constituents also asked for a stoplight on U.S. 64 at either Whitted Street or Oak Street. Buchanan asked Connet to supply traffic counts for Whitted and Oak, which are city streets. Adding those numbers to NCDOT traffic counts for U.S. 64 and crash totals, engineers will determine whether a consulting report is warranted for a final call. If a traffic signal is recommended, the city would have to pay for part of it.

"All of our spot safety, high impact-low cost projects, all of those are on hold as well," he said.

"Right now DOT has pretty severe budget constraints, as you might have heard," he said. When there's a safety concern, the NCDOT will be more responsive, he said.

Although constituents asked for a fourth pedestrian signal at the Greenville Highway-Spartanburg Highway intersection, the chance of that appears remote. Buchanan said the three existing pedestrian crossings allow for access to all four corners; the NCDOT doesn't have the money for a fourth and adding another would "significantly increase intersection delay."

In order for us to look at that, it's a cost factor," Watkins said. "A fourth crossing significantly increases the in delay. the White Street projectm ske dot let in Octoer 2020, some of the con you have now will probably be addressed as part of that project.

City residents also asked about bollards on Buncombe Street and U.S. 64 West. The NCDOT already plans better lane markings there, and Buchanan suggested that engineers and city officials should see if that fixes the problem for installing bollards or tubular markers.

"There's a plan for restriping to channel traffic," he said. "Let us get this installed and evaluate it and see how well this is working before we do something more extensive like plastic bollards."