BERLIN – A sidewalk needs to be added to the south side of Flower St., to join the in-progress north side sidewalk, Berlin Town Council member Elroy Brittingham said at Monday night’s council meeting.
The traffic on the road makes walking unsafe, Brittingham feels.
“We get over 20 school buses a day. We get all the traffic for parents,” Brittingham said.
Flower St. is an often-used short cut to Stephen Decatur Middle School (SDMS) and Stephen Decatur High School (SDHS) from Route 113.
Several county buses use Flower St., and trucks and other vehicles use the road to access the county garbage transfer station.
“A lot of the citizens are backing in now because they can’t back out in traffic,” said Brittingham.
The town should approach the County Commissioners about funding for a second sidewalk, he said, adding, “I don’t think that’s asking too much from the county.”
“I wish you luck,” said Berlin Mayor Tom Cardinale.
Last fall, construction on the eagerly awaited northside Flower St. sidewalk began.
Initial project funding came from a $175,000 Community Development Block Grant. Berlin is funding the remaining cost at roughly $300,000.
Flower St. is the only town-owned street to see such a strong traffic impact, Brittingham said, and it’s a safety issue, especially for children.
“We got a lot of kids who walk the streets off the school buses,” Brittingham said.
Resident Marge Coyman added, “Kids are walking there and they’re walking in the evening and it’s dangerous.”
Grant money could be available for a second sidewalk or to extend the sidewalk under construction all the way to the schools, Coyman said.
Cardinale suggested asking a delegation of concerned citizens to attend a County Commissioner meeting and ask for help on the second sidewalk.
Brittingham preferred sending a request by letter first with a delegation as a second option if the letter is not successful.
The town council voted unanimously to send the request.
Bambary doubts funds for a second sidewalk will be available soon.
“I think it’s going to be tough,” Bambary said. “There is state grant funding for routes to school, but it’s for the whole county. Snow Hill and Pocomoke have already put their requests in for that. I would think it’s highly unlikely to get funded in the next fiscal year.”