City tweaks plans for Lindsay roundabout

Jun. 15, 2013 @ 04:56 PM

City officials have adjusted the design for part of a major transportation project in response to the recommendations of a team of urban planners and architects.
Plans have been finalized for a redesigned roundabout at the intersection of Lindsay Street, Elm Street and W. Parkway Avenue.
Last month, city engineers teamed up with representatives of the Miami-based architectural firm Duany Plater-Zyberk, who suggested changing the design from a traffic circle to an oval-shaped roundabout that would be a better fit with the new urbanism architectural principles touted by the DPZ team.
The concept is the same: The traffic signal at the intersection will be removed to facilitate better movement of vehicles through the area.
But the roundabout’s new design incorporates key concepts championed by DPZ, according to Wendy Fuscoe, executive director of The City Project, the city-funded nonprofit organization that works to revitalize older neighborhoods.
The City Project brought the Duany team to High Point last month for a series of planning workshops that will serve as the basis of a master plan on how to revitalize Uptowne, the furniture market district and the High Point University area.
“This new and improved roundabout will better serve to slow traffic down before it gets to the intersection,” Fuscoe said, explaining that the new design also is more pedestrian-friendly than the previous concept because it incorporates sidewalks and green space within it. “We see it as the first accomplishment, as far as getting the DPZ plan implemented.”
The project is on the edge of Uptowne — one of the areas the DPZ plan seeks to transform into a “walkable urban core,” she pointed out.
The roundabout is one phase of several upgrades either planned or underway along Lindsay Street from N. Main Street to English Road.
Terry Kuneff, a city engineer who helped develop the redesign, said a portion of the street has been widened from Sunset Drive to Quaker Lane and overhead power lines have been put underground. New light poles have been installed and sidewalks will be constructed that will tie in with the roundabout. 
Street parking will be added along Elm and Lindsay streets to try to slow traffic down before it reaches the roundabout.
“It’s not a circle anymore; it’s a lot larger,” Kuneff said. “This is much longer. Traffic, to maneuver around that, will need to go slower.”   
Despite the larger size of the roundabout, it can be built within the right of way that had already been acquired for the project and will not impinge on any adjacent properties, he added.
It will, however, cost the city an additional $85,000, officials estimated.
The total contract amount for the entire Lindsay Street project is $5.1 million, about $4 million of which is covered by bond money approved by city voters in 2004.
Contractors currently are working at Lindsay Street and Ray Avenue installing a storm drain pipe. Kuneff said once this is finished, they will start construction on the roundabout, possibly by the end of this month.