City to Vote on Funds For Fondren Street Improvements | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

City to Vote on Funds For Fondren Street Improvements

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The Jackson City Council will vote on whether to approve a $2 million street-scaping project in the Fondren business district tomorrow.

The Jackson City Council will vote at Tuesday's council meeting on whether to approve a $2 million grant from the Mississippi Department of Transportation to install new sidewalks, lighting, landscaping and street-construction for the area starting at the fork at Old Canton Road and State Street and extending to Duling Avenue in Fondren.

"Last year the city made an application for $2 million on behalf of Fondren for pedestrian bicycle lighting and street scape improvement to the Fondren area," city spokesman Chris Mims said. "(MDOT approved) the $2 million."

Mims said the city will have to match the grant with $500,000 of its own money, but pointed out that the city is in the middle of putting together its Fiscal Year 2011 budget, and said that the beautification effort appears popular among city residents. Pending approval by the council, the city's next step will be to advertise for an engineer to handle design and construction, which could start in early 2011.

Mary Jo McAnally, associate director of Fondren Renaissance Foundation said the foundation welcomed the improvement, and pointed to the benefits of a bike lane on Old Canton Road from Duling Avenue to Meadowbrook Road.

"Years ago we striped old Canton Road, and people have loved that. It has slowed down traffic on Old Canton, which is a wide street, but also a very busy residential street, and that has really helped the traffic," McAnally said. "I think anytime you slow traffic, you make a neighborhood more (bike) friendly. We have older neighborhoods in Fondren. It's established. Young people stroll their babies down the path. It's very popular."

Realtor Don Potts, a Fondren resident, also praised the endeavor.

"Anything you do to get people out of their cars and walking around in a residential or commercial neighborhood is good," Potts said. "In a commercial area it's particularly good to get people out of their cars and walking because it could add to business."

Potts said he was interested in converting the abandoned railroad line near Belhaven to Byram--a neighboring municipality south of Jackson.

Melody Moody, the new executive director of Bike Walk Mississippi starting in August, and current chairwoman of the board for Jackson Bike Advocates, said she welcomed the beautification effort in Fondren, but urged the city and city residents to push for a pedestrian-friendly connection to downtown Jackson.

"Mississippi jumped from 48 to 24 in national status among states in terms of being bike friendly," Moody said. "I know the Fondren improvements are small, but to have anything you have to start small."

Moody said she'd like to see more improvements to other streets in the city, like State Street.

"We at Jackson Bike Advocates would like to look at connecting Fondren and Belhaven, but State Street is pretty much holding us back," she said. "The neighborhoods are really disconnected. Fondren may be bikable, but is it really bikable if you can't connect to any other neighborhoods?"

Previous Comments

ID
158381
Comment

LOVE THIS! I'm also interested in Mr. Potts' Belhaven to Byram idea. And connecting Fondren and Belhaven. I just got a bike and am itching to ride it, but I feel like I can only go so far safely from my house. Would love to feel safer biking to Fondren and beyond!

Author
andi
Date
2010-06-28T14:06:04-06:00
ID
158382
Comment

I'd be curious to hear if Fondren-Belhaven cyclists find it convenient to cut through UMMC's campus instead of braving the State Street/Woodrow Wilson mix-master?

Author
Todd Stauffer
Date
2010-06-28T14:43:13-06:00
ID
158385
Comment

@Todd - I always use State Street rather than cut through UMMC's campus. Even on my skinny-wheeled road bike, I think the safety disadvantage created by the potholes is outweighed by the safety advantage created by having traffic lights on your side when crossing Woodrow Wilson. The UMMC shortcut and ride through backend Belhaven are nice, but when it's time to cross Woodrow Wilson over by Murrah, you're playing Frogger with your life. Same problem when it comes time to cross Fortification unless you ride down to Jefferson or back up to State Street. @andi If you've just got a new bike and you're interested in safe riding around Fondren & Belhaven, check out the following pages: http://bicyclesafe.com/ http://www.bicyclinglife.com/PracticalCycling/commuteguide.htm The first has good visual representations of how to avoid getting hit. The second has good advice on how to be a safe rider, esp. if you're getting back into cycling.

Author
mpriesterjr
Date
2010-06-28T17:34:23-06:00
ID
158386
Comment

I always bike to the JFP office from Belhaven through UMMC. It's a great cut through and at night there are always officers on duty. I probably wouldn't bike to work if it weren't for UMMC.

Author
Lacey McLaughlin
Date
2010-06-28T19:46:58-06:00
ID
158388
Comment

melody here: @todd, from what I hear the most popular way to get from belhaven to fondren is through ummc as opposed to going on state street, one of the things i hope to look at in my new job is the possibility of finding a way to add a crosswalk for both bikes and pedestrians across woodrow wilson at the intersection of pinehurst to the hospital. Until we get state street as one of the major priorities, we can at least look at crossing the street at that area as a priority. it seems, as lacey stated, the way that most people in belhaven even attempt to bike to the fondren area.

Author
judah
Date
2010-06-28T20:44:03-06:00
ID
158395
Comment

Thanks!! I appreciate the links. I need a good helmet before I go anywhere. That's another thing; I see too many ppl riding around here sans helmet. The potholes alone are scary enough!

Author
andi
Date
2010-06-28T22:55:36-06:00
ID
158397
Comment

melody: do you mean peachtree? pinehurst runs east to west while peachtree runs north and south and intersects with woodrow wilson.

Author
2599
Date
2010-06-28T23:22:35-06:00
ID
158398
Comment

yes, it was a typo. i meant peachtree. specifically near murrah where people generally cross both walking and on bikes.

Author
judah
Date
2010-06-29T00:42:31-06:00
ID
158400
Comment

yep, that's exactly where i thought you meant it to be! ; ) hope that happens! it's a great idea and a great help getting the area on the road to be more bike friendly (pun intended!)

Author
2599
Date
2010-06-29T05:56:17-06:00
ID
158432
Comment

Hmm, pledge money to make the WHITE neighborhood look better. I see how it is.

Author
DrumminD21311
Date
2010-06-29T17:49:29-06:00
ID
158440
Comment

Drummin, I'm with you. They just resurfaced the roads in that area. If they knew they had that grant coming in, the asphalt could have really been used over on Raymond or Robinson Road. Fondren is already a well-lit area with sidewalks and re-surfaced roads. Let's get a grant written for areas in South Jackson that are subject to flash flooding because the infrastructure is inadequate and add some lighting too. No wonder we have so many crimes in South and West Jackson. The street lights are placed so far apart they don't do much good. And while we are at it, what about some sidewalk improvement on West Capitol Street. When is that grant going to be written?

Author
deltabelle
Date
2010-06-30T08:29:28-06:00
ID
158441
Comment

Yeah they gotta keep the Jackson Free Press corps happy since Fondren is their utopia. Keep their neighborhood nice and clean while neglecting the poor black folks in South Jackson that didn't get their journalism degrees and haven't yet converted from fried foods to organic soy products. Now maybe next time a contentious issue arises and the city council needs positive press, they can turn to ole Donna and Todd for help. You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours, eh? They learned their lessons from Melton's mistakes.

Author
DrumminD21311
Date
2010-06-30T13:07:49-06:00
ID
158444
Comment

Right, Drummin. Actually, the city is mad at us again as far as we can tell. Keep up.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2010-06-30T14:36:43-06:00
ID
158445
Comment

Deltabelle, I agree with you: Fondren shouldn't get more attention than any other part of the city. And Drummin, if you're going to keep the privilege of posting here, you're going to need to stop trolling for a fight. Take the juvenile posts elsewhere. No one here cares.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2010-06-30T14:58:24-06:00
ID
158450
Comment

I just wanted to take a second to say that one of my major concerns when I first heard about this project was the pouring of money into a small section of fondren that is for the most part, already more bike-friendly than many other areas of the city. HOWEVER, it's important to remember that the grant has already been approved by MDOT and the city is going to move forward on what they determine for themselves is a priority. The changes to fondren are welcome, but that doesn't mean that Bike Walk, the Jackson Bike Advocates and others aren't focused on getting these same type of positive changes in West Jackson and other communities. Unfortunately, we don't have control over what the city ultimately decides, but we can petition and advocate for what we want. What we truly need is members of all of these communities to come forward and work with local advocacy group to give a voice where change is needed, no matter what neighborhood, race, income level or political leaning. I have spent over 10 years working in West Jackson and consider other areas of the city just as much of a priority for pedestrian and bike friendly changes as Fondren; but if they have already decided to follow through on these changes, we should at the very least use this to our advantage to leverage for other positive changes around the city.

Author
judah
Date
2010-06-30T23:32:59-06:00
ID
158451
Comment

@deltabelle, you said, "Let's get a grant written for areas in South Jackson that are subject to flash flooding because the infrastructure is inadequate and add some lighting too. No wonder we have so many crimes in South and West Jackson. The street lights are placed so far apart they don't do much good. And while we are at it, what about some sidewalk improvement on West Capitol Street. When is that grant going to be written?" I wanted you to know that I've been advocating for increased street lighting in parts of west Jackson for years and we would love some sidewalk improvements along capitol street as well (in addition to better streets, lighting, pedestrian friendly neighborhoods)all over the city. As I begin my new post as Director of Bike Walk MS this year, I would really love to work with you and others to look into the possibilities of writing a grant and/or looking for possible funding for some of these projects; the best thing we can do to try to get support and $ for these projects is to show community support. Please feel free to get in touch with me if you'd like to help with these projects in the coming year. Together, we can make our collective voices heard!

Author
judah
Date
2010-06-30T23:42:10-06:00
ID
158456
Comment

Nice posts, "judah." ;-)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2010-07-01T09:40:41-06:00
ID
158465
Comment

nice to see some positive vibes to counteract the poison spilled in previous posts. thanks, judah. on behalf of those of use who would love to see a greater, unified jackson, working together for one purpose, your work is appreciated.

Author
2599
Date
2010-07-01T13:56:50-06:00
ID
158467
Comment

Truth does not = poison

Author
DrumminD21311
Date
2010-07-01T14:26:34-06:00

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