BY SARAH R. GREGORY
Current plans for a North Main Street crosswalk to accommodate Walters State Community College's (WSCC) "open campus" concept in downtown Greeneville will likely incorporate new safety features designed for pedestrian safety, a college spokesman said Wednesday.
The plans currently include, among other features, a slightly-raised crosswalk, according to J.B. Pectol, vice president for Communications and Marketing at WSCC.
Pectol spoke Wednesday in a telephone interview with The Greeneville Sun.
The college hopes to secure grant funding of more than $3.3 million from the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) to complete Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant pedestrian sidewalks around the campus.
The funding would have a local match of just over $900,000, bringing the total project cost to nearly $4.5 million.
The campus is bordered by sections of North Main Street, Tusculum Boulevard and North College Street.
In addition to the sidewalks, he said, modifications to an existing crosswalk near WSCC on North Main Street would also likely be made.
Possibilities, Pectol said, include new signal lights for pedestrians, and a slightly-raised crosswalk -- similar to a speed hump -- to enhance safety.
College officials have explained that an increased number of WSCC students are expected to cross North Main Street when the campus expansion is completed.
The reason, Pectol said Wednesday, is that more than 60 spaces in a parking lot owned by Greeneville Orthopaedic Clinic, which is located directly across North Main from the campus, will be utilized by students.
WSCC President Dr. Wade McCamey made a presentation to the Greeneville Board of Mayor and Aldermen in September in which he explained the planned sidewalk improvements and the "open campus" concept.
McCamey said that fences are not incorporated in the design so that pedestrian traffic can flow through the campus unimpeded.
At the time of his presentation, there was also discussion of an "elevated" crosswalk or some other form of "highly protected crosswalk" adjacent to the campus on North Main Street, for pedestrian safety reasons.
The Sun has learned that that reference, and specifically the use of the word "elevated," triggered concerns for many local citizens that there were plans to build some form of architectural structure or walkway above and across North Main Street.
Such a design, however, is not planned by Walters State, Pectol said.
He also noted that sidewalks that are planned around the campus will be built of both concrete and brick -- concrete to satisfy ADA requirements, and brick to fit the aesthetic of the downtown historic district.