Discussion continues on whether to build five foot sidewalk vs. 10 foot multi use trail

The Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen will discuss, but not vote, Tuesday, March 8, on whether a Murfreesboro Road project should be a five-foot sidewalk or a 10-foot multi-use trail.

In late 2014, Franklin’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved $550,300 for a sidewalk project along Murfreesboro Road (SR-96), from Pinkerton Park to Mack Hatcher Parkway (SR-397). On February 19, 2015 and March 4, 2015, public hearings were held to obtain feedback from the local residents and the general public. The project was well supported by the residents with the majority of people in favor of the project.

In a memo to aldermen regarding the issue, Engineering Director Paul Holzen recounted the scenario of events from 2015 in which after discussing these issues with the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, “it was determined to revise the project from a five (5) foot sidewalk to a ten (10) foot multi-use trail. Design of the project with curb and gutter versus an open ditch was also discussed. Ultimately, due to the required relocation of multiple overhead utilities with a curb and gutter section, the BOMA decided to proceed with an open ditch design.”

“At the time city staff did not have any type of design and estimated the project cost at approximately $1,360,000. Staff was not directed to add bike lanes and streetscape elements to the project,” Holzen said. “On January 27, 2016, a third public meeting was held to present and to obtain additional feedback on the revised final design. This meeting was well attended, with many questions from the public. The response from the public was split between a five (5) foot sidewalk and the ten (10) foot multi-use trail. Property owners, who would be directly impacted by project construction, generally favored the five (5) foot sidewalk. There were also requests for limited streetscape elements (e.g. decorative lighting) with the project.”

City staff, based on the reaction and discussion of aldermen, designed a 10 foot multi use trail, but has not designed the five foot sidewalk, Holzen said.

Along with the changes in the width of the path, came revised cost projections, with the price tag of $2.1 million for the five foot sidewalk with an open ditch or $2.3 million price tag for the 10 foot multi-use trail with an open ditch.

“Any major changes to the design will result in a 6-12 month delay to update the design and easement documents. Major utility relocations will delay the project up to two years,” Holzen said in his memo, adding redesign of the project to a five foot sidewalk with an open ditch would likely only require a two-month delay to allow for design update/modifications.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen work session will be held at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Franklin City Hall.