SPINDALE—The Spindale Streetscape Project moved a major step forward Monday with the reopening of several downtown streets with a new traffic pattern.
Tanner Street is now one-way from Main Street to Elmore Street. Davis Street is now one-way from the Spindale House to Nebraska Street. And Nebraska, from Davis to Main, is one-way.
Officials say the new traffic pattern will allow for more efficient traffic flow, and the streets will be safer for vehicles and pedestrians. The traffic pattern was discussed at the Spindale Town Council meeting Monday evening.
“The changes allowed us to add several additional downtown parking spaces,” said Spindale Town Manager Scott Webber. “Tanner Street has more parking now than it has ever had.”
Officials acknowledge that it may take local citizens a little bit of time to get used to the new traffic configuration.
“I expect there will be a learning curve,” Webber said.
Still to come in the streetscape project is the installation of benches, bike racks, trash receptacles, railing, and new stairs connecting Main Street to the Thermal Belt Rail Trail. This work will take place over the next several weeks.
Another major component of the project is new lighting that will be installed by Duke Energy.
“The new pedestrian lighting is a key element to the overall plan,” Webber said. “I am hoping the lighting will be installed by mid August.”
The council also was updated on a new electric car charging station that will be installed downtown.
“We have recently received the charger. I’m hopeful that it will be installed and ready for use by mid-August,” Webber said.
The town was awarded a $10,000 grant from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Air Quality, which obtained the money through the North Carolina Volkswagen Mitigation Settlement Program. Because of violations relating to the federal Clean Air Act, Volkswagen was ultimately forced to pay billions of dollars into a federal environmental mitigation trust fund, which in turn funds the state programs.
Spindale’s charging station will be located adjacent to the Thermal Belt Rail Trail, near parking spaces on Steward Street. This is almost directly across from the Spindale House on Main Street.
In other business at the meeting, the council unanimously agreed to change the start-time for regular council meetings. Beginning in September, the Spindale Town Council meetings will begin at 5:30 p.m. These meetings currently begin at 6:30 p.m. Mayor Mickey Bland brought up the idea of changing the start time, prompted by recent late-night meetings.
“I think it will be better for our staff, and better for any of us, if we are not here so late,” Bland said.
Following the council’s vote, Bland emphasized the meeting time change will begin in September; the August meeting will again start at 6:30 p.m.