After months of planning and several public meetings, the Corbin City Commission approved the final draft of the street scaping and wayfinding study during its monthly meeting Monday night.
The plan, which has been in the works since 2016, is designed to make Corbin more accessible and user friendly.
In addition, it will improve accessibility for pedestrian and bicycle traffic, calm traffic along Main Street and Kentucky Ave., provide better signage to help navigate downtown, and make downtown more visually appealing.
One of the biggest issues brought up at a planning meeting in July 2016 was the speed of traffic through downtown, particularly on Main Street.
The posted speed limit is 25 mph, but several people noted at the meeting that vehicles are known to travel as fast as 40 mph through the area.
As U.S. 25W is a state highway, it is legal for commercial vehicles to use it, even when they are passing through as opposed to making a delivery downtown.
One solution proposed by residents was to take the parking off of Main Street.
Corbin Downtown Director Andy Salmons, who also owns You & Me Coffee & Tea on Main Street, said bumpouts from the sidewalks at the intersections along Main Street, along with raised crosswalks, would solve multiple issues including calming traffic, and improving pedestrian safety while allowing the parking spaces to remain.
“Stamped crosswalks provide a visual and tactile warning, signaling pedestrian crossing,” the study noted.
“When you feel the rumble on your tires, you tend to slow down,” Salmons said.
Salmons noted the bumpouts could be placed in space currently designated, “no parking,” resulting in the loss of no parking spaces.
Commissioner Trent Knuckles questioned how parking would be effected on Kentucky Ave.
Salmons said that currently there are no marked parking spaces on Kentucky Ave., but the plans calls for that to occur.
In addition to marking the spaces, Salmons said the lane widths on Kentucky Ave. would be decreased, causing drivers to naturally slow their speed.
The study noted that expansions to the city has left the existing signage as a patchwork that is no longer effective in meeting current and future needs.
The study recommends the removal of all existing signage and replacement with a standardized version.
Signage highlighting specific destinations such, downtown, Laurel Lake and the Corbin Welcome Center, will begin at the intersection of U.S. 25W and Fifth Street Road and continue at major intersections, such as the interstate, Corbin bypass, Forest Drive, 18th Street, Main Street and Kentucky Ave. and continuing north/east to the city limits.
In addition to providing directions to major points of interest, the sign will note nearby parking.
Similar signs geared toward pedestrians would be placed at various intersections downtown.
Salmons said with the equipment Corbin Public Works currently has, such signs could be made in-house.
Salmons said final approval for the placement of the signs along the state highways would requirement approval from the Kentucky Department of Transportation. However a copy of the study has already been provided to transportation officials.
For the streetscape improvements, Salmons said he would begin in August to work to secure grant money to fund it.
The complete master plan may be viewed online at www.thenewsjournal.net.
“Everything is not a hard and fast rule. These are guidelines that will help us as we seek out federal grants to do engineering and physical projects,” Salmons said.
In other business the commissioners:
- Heard a proposal from Enterprise Fleet Management for the lease of new vehicles for the Police Department, Fire Department and Public Works Department.
The proposal includes three trucks for public works, an SUV for the fire department to serve as a first response/rescue vehicle, and three new Dodge Charger police cruisers.
Corbin Police Chief Rusty Hedrick said the department currently has three Chargers that need to replace because of their high mileage.
“We have had to replace three motors,” Hedrick said.
City Manager Marlon Sams said the fire department, also responds to calls for medical assistance in the city, currently uses the pumper truck.
The new truck would serve as the department’s first-responder vehicle for such calls.
Chief Barry McDonald said the department already has most of the necessary equipment on the other trucks, so it would just be a matter of outfitting it.
- Approved the appointment of Chris Campbell and Brenda Jones to the Corbin Public Library Board.
Campbell will take the seat vacated by Thelma “Frankie” Sasser, who resigned from the board because of health concerns. The appointment will run through Feb. 1.
Jones, who currently serves as the board chair, was appointed for a new four-year term.
- Recognized Thurman Nantz, who is retiring after nearly 28 years with Corbin Public Works.
Corbin Public Works Director Gary Kelly said Nantz, who drives one of the city’s garbage trucks, has been a very loyal employee, noting he is leaving with more than 200 sick days in addition to numerous days he has donated to other city employees.
Corbin Mayor Willard McBurney presented Nantz with a watch in recognition of his service.
- Approved the first reading of an ordinance establishing a tree board and regulations relating to street and park trees.
The ordinance emphasizes that the board shall only have jurisdiction over trees and shrubs located in parks, along streets and in other public areas.
The ordinance also establishes a list of acceptable trees that may be planted in public spaces, the spacing between trees, from the street and from sidewalks and fire hydrants.
While the Bradford Pear was initially included in the list of trees the board may consider, Knuckles argued the tree should be removed from the list, noting it is not native to Kentucky, and creates problems with maintenance. The commission unanimously agreed to strike it from the ordinance.