Business leaders learned last night that Fondren is one step closer to construction on the planned transportation enhancement grant, a grant awarded to Fondren Renaissance over two years ago.
Project engineers Mark Beyea and Sidney Kelly from Neel Shaffer met with a business town hall at Fondren Church in the Woodland Hills Baptist Sanctuary. The pair reviewed updated plans and said those plans will be finalized by the end of the year. “Construction should begin next spring, in March or April,” Beyea told the crowd. The project is expected to be completed in a six-month time frame and contractor restrictions will demand work take place one block at a time. “We won’t have the whole neighborhood torn up at once,” he reiterated.
As for project specifics, Beyea told of lanes “going away” – on North State Street at the Entergy substation; on Old Canton Road between Fondren Place and Duling Avenue; and the northbound turn lane, at State Street onto Duling. Beyea said these lanes would be used to add additional parking, an extended bike lane from Duling to Lakeland and a wider sidewalk, respectively.
While there will be some loss of parking spaces, the neighborhood will ultimately gain spots in other locations. “There’s no net loss,” Beyea said.
The $2.6 million federal grant is meant for surface improvements, not infrastructure, helping to brand Fondren as a more pedestrian and alternate transportation friendly area. Street signs and welcome markers will distinctly brand the neighborhood and embedded, logo elements will be placed in sidewalks and stamped, stained concrete pavers at major intersections.
Additionally, street lamp poles will be erected and a low concrete “pew bench” will be constructed in front of Rainbow Co-Op at the intersection of Lakeland and Old Canton. Removable bollards will be placed at Duling Avenue and State Street, making that block easier to section off for events. Bike racks, new bus shelters, flashing solar- powered pedestrian crossing signals and wayfinding signage will be added.