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CDOT unveils plan to stop speeding on Scaleybark Road

By Rad Berky and Ben Thompson
NBC Charlotte

The city of Charlotte unveiled a plan Tuesday night to reduce speeding along Scaleybark Road.

Once a neighborhood road, the thoroughfare is now a popular shortcut between Woodlawn Road and South Boulevard. One resident called it “a speedway.”

The city estimates 10,000 cars travel it every day. It’s also used by pedestrians walking to the Scaleybark Lynx light-rail station, and it’s popular for walkers and bicyclists who live in the neighborhood.

Neighbors packed the Collinswood Language Academy to look at what the Charlotte Department of Transportation is going to do to slow speeders down.

The city said traditional traffic-calming techniques, such as speed bumps, stop signs or traffic circles, weren’t an option since Scaleybark is considered a thoroughfare with a speed limit of 35 mph.

Instead, designers focused the proposal on a center median, curb extensions, on-street parking, sidewalks, crosswalks and bicycle lanes.

“Some crosswalks would be good because there’s lots of pedestrian traffic,” said Karen Elsken, bicyclist.

Lanes will be narrowed between Woodlawn Road and South Boulevard, and an additional median will be built along with bicycle lanes.

The plan was presented by Ashton Watson, a CDOT traffic engineer, who explained why it was not possible to put in speed bumps and a few more stop signs. “The volume of traffic and the types of vehicles, such as emergency response vehicles,” Watson said, “… We just can’t deter them that much by introducing those types of features.”

Most of those who came by to look at the city’s presentation said they were pleased something was being done after years of complaints.

“We’re hoping it will slow it down and make the neighborhood nicer, more enjoyable and safer,” said Mike Farrell who lives just off Scaleybark.

Ashton says the $1.6 million project would break ground in fall 2014, finishing up in spring 2015.

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