Local News

Fayetteville Sidewalk Project Sidetracked Due To Budget Cuts

Posted February 26, 2002 10:49 a.m. EST

— State budget cuts will shelve a project designed to keep pedestrians safe in Fayetteville. City leaders wanted to put sidewalks on all major thoroughfares, but now they cannot afford to.

Over the past 13 months, eight pedestrians have been killed on city streets. That is more than a third of all traffic fatalities for the year. The city's plan was to add more sidewalks, but state budgets cuts will sideline the plan.

Fayetteville Police Traffic Specialist Eric Dow often stops walkers and encourages them to use crosswalks and sidewalks in an effort to keep them safe.

"Anytime you can add that protection you'll reduce the percentage of people getting hit," Dow said.

In the past few years, many busy streets have gotten sidewalks. Now, because of nearly $3 million in state cuts, the plan is on hold.

"Obviously, you are not improving safety. Our choice, unfortunately, boils down to do you do the project and cut services or defer the project and cut services which also contribute to safety," said Roger Stancil, Fayetteville city manager.

Bicyclist Chris Hickman has been hit by a car while riding before. He said that he is disappointed the project has hit a funding roadblock.

"That means more people getting hurt, it's that simple," he said.

The city had allotted nearly $500,000 for the sidewalk expansion. The ultimate goal is to have more than 15 miles of sidewalks on busy roads across the city.

Leaders said that they are not sure when the project will get back on track.