Pedestrian safety a Wilmington priority

By John Hamilton -

WILMINGTON — Safer routes for pedestrians took another step forward during the Wilmington City Council meeting on Thursday.

“I’m excited to see this come to flourish,” said Street Committee Chair Tyler Williams before the first reading of the resolution adopting the Downtown Wilmington Pedestrian Plan Improvement.

Regional Planning Commissioner Taylor Stuckert first presented the project during the March 1 council meeting.

Stuckert told council it got started in 2016 after doing comprehensive planning for the city. During those meetings, downtown walkability and pedestrian safety were heavily discussed. According to him, 46 percent of the roads in Wilmington were without sidewalks at that time.

“So, you can understand why safety and walkability were important issues to the residents,” he said.

He pointed out that there was a lot of investment in downtown with renovations occurring, new residential living and businesses.

“It truly has been a renaissance these last 10 years in downtown Wilmington. It was a strong interest from Main Street Wilmington and the City of Wilmington to study this issue of safety in the downtown area.”

The study took a look at aspects like lighting, sidewalk conditions, traffic speed, and landscaping. They looked at pedestrian accident data from the Wilmington Police Department.

The also looked at the pedestrian experience in the downtown area.

“All of that really helped shaped our recommendations … we provided a table in the plan. It’s not all encompassing but it’s a start to addressing key issues,” Stuckert said. “The key is to focus on improving the area.”

Once the plan is adopted the next step is to do some engineering work on the recommendations to get a real sense of costs and how to implement them.

“This is a big deal,” said Council President Mark McKay. “Taylor (Stuckert) of course gets big kudos for this. You start scanning through all the work he did, it’s like a small book.”

A second reading is scheduled for the April 5 City Council meeting.

By John Hamilton

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574