Tuesday, May 25, 2021
Young people walking more than a mile between Forest Hill High School, at 2607 Raymond Road, and the Boys and Girls Club will soon have a multi-use path to avoid the risk of the high-traffic Raymond Road.
EJES, Inc. is the proposed contractor to perform the design engineering and easement acquisition services for the project for $226,303.60 before the project execution with funding from the 1% Sales Tax.
Both Ward 4 Councilman and District 66 Rep. De'Keither Stamps and Ward 2 Councilwoman Angelique Lee said at the Jackson City Council work session on Monday, May 24, that the road will protect the young people from accidents. "The history (of the demand for) this goes back 20 years," Stamps said. "And we've had several children get hit by car accidents when they leave the basketball, football games, stuff like that, at school programs."
"Parents don't let their children walk down Raymond Road, so they can't go places and things after school and at any time," he added.
"This has been a request for a multitude of years from primarily Councilman (Aaron) Banks, and Councilman Stamps," Public Works Director Charles Williams said at the work session. "It is a much-needed path for the children." He said that the design phase will be complete in a few months, and the total cost of the project is "a little over $1 million."
"If we do not have to acquire any right-of-way, we'll definitely go a lot quicker. But if we need to acquire right-of-ways, it's going to take a lot of time depending on who will need to get the easement from," he added.
Council President and Ward 6 Councilman Aaron Banks said lighting the area is also essential. "When we have more traffic, the traffic that Stamps is talking about the most traffic is not during the day. It's after the basketball games and after the football games," he said. "And so lighting is the next thing."
The order states that the multi-use path will "improve pedestrian safety and promote pedestrian and bicycle transportation along Raymond Road."
The project will include concrete sidewalks, curb and gutter modification, pedestrian control assembly, sidewalk with Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant ramps, a traffic-control plan and drainage, EJES Gulf Regional President Kamal Rasheed stated in a May 4 letter to Williams.
"The City desires to improve pedestrian safety and promote bicycling in southwest Jackson by constructing a multi-use path parallel to Raymond Road," Williams wrote in a May 5 memorandum to the mayor. "The path will improve safety for students who walk to Forest Hill High School as well as provide a multi-use path for residents in an area where no pedestrian or bicycle facilities exist."
Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba said that the neighborhood associations in the area have also been asking for the path. "It was a real fight before the commission," he said. "It passed narrowly, but I think that this is the fruit of good conversation."
Email story tips to city/county reporter Kayode Crown at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @kayodecrown.
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