The Town of Jackson is considering construction of “bulb-outs,” or expanded pedestrian areas on the north side of Town Square and on Center Street between Gill and Broadway avenues to increase pedestrian safety.

Town of Jackson staff last week discussed plans to alter four downtown intersections on and near the Town Square to better accommodate foot traffic and comply with federal ADA requirements. Interested members of the public joined in the online meeting.

Johnny Ziem, the Town of Jackson’s assistant public works director, detailed the proposed project, which would affect intersections and areas of Center Street between Gill and Broadway avenues, as well as the north side of Town Square.

At the crux of the project would be what Ziem termed “bulb-outs” at the corners of those intersections — essentially bulbous, expanded sidewalk areas — which would make the areas safer for pedestrians by both giving them increased visibility and slowing traffic due to the roadway being slightly narrowed to accommodate the bulb-outs. Additionally, wheelchair ramps would be added in some places so the town would be in compliance with federally mandated ADA requirements.

“The purpose of this project is to create an active and kind of an engaging pedestrian experience, including increased pedestrian safety and improved ADA access within the downtown core,” Ziem said.

Because the downtown area is host to such varied groups of people throughout the year, Ziem said, the “sidewalks should be designed to meet the needs of the widest possible range of users.”

The bulb-outs — Ziem noted that the town already has a few of them on Redmond Street and Pearl Avenue — provide an additional benefit by shortening crossing distances for pedestrians, he said.

“So, you get a lot of benefits in congested areas where you have lots of traffic and pedestrians,” Ziem said.

Ziem fielded questions in the Zoom meeting from interested members of the public, including several questions and comments from Gerard Yvernault, who owns The Bunnery Bakery & Restaurant on North Cache Street. One concern expressed regarded potential loss of parking to accommodate the bulb-outs. Ziem said that zero parking spaces would be sacrificed for the project.

Construction would begin in 2023, pending Town Council approval. Cost is uncertain.

Contact Tim Woods at 732-5911 or town@jhnewsandguide.com.

Contact Tim Woods at 732-5911 or town@jhnewsandguide.com.

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