Various opinions expressed during Walnut Street Improvement Project hearing

Various opinions expressed during Walnut Street Improvement Project hearing

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - More connections are coming to Evansville’s greenway system but it could make for some extra traffic alerts.

The Walnut Street Improvement project is in the early stages, but first, a public input session.

A couple dozen people showed up at the C.K. Newsome Center Tuesday night to share their thoughts and opinions. A few people even talked about their concerns.

Those conversations varied from off street parking and general traffic issues to personal property.

Stretching slightly more than three miles, you’ll find many homes, some businesses, multiple bus stops, and a pass through UE’s campus across the Walnut Street Improvement Project. Phase 1 runs from Highway 41 to Weinbach Avenue.

“You shouldn’t have to have a car to participate in the economy. You shouldn’t have to have a car to get your groceries. With this project, we’re allowing a safe area that allows both folks that want to use it as recreational purposes, but those who want to use it as their main mode of transportation to get different places,” City Engineer Brent Schmitt said.

Rosi Weatherwax was among a couple dozen people who live, work or pass through there who came to share their thoughts. Her husband is legally blind and walks often.

“He’s very tall and he has come home with signs imprinted into his head because they hang lower than they’re supposed to be by ADA requirements, and somebody with a wheel chair couldn’t get down parts of Bellemeade because of the poles and the narrow widths of things,” Weatherwax explained.

She tells 14 News her husband has been hit by a car more than once.

Project leaders say the road diet project, which takes four lanes down to three, is federally funded with an 80/20 match, costing a little more than $3 million dollars. Pavement, curb and gutter, and south sidewalk rehab, along with replacement of the north sidewalk with a multi-use trail is all included.

Plus, there’s a new storm sewer system plan.

Another interesting component: the channels for fiber in the future will also be laid. This will eventually allow USI, the med school, and UE to share information.

The project began in spring of last year.

Construction is on track to start in 2020.

The next phase includes Weinbach Avenue to Vann Avenue.

Phase three runs from MLK JR Blvd to Highway-41.

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