Hal Greer Boulevard Corridor Management Plan moving forward
HUNTINGTON – A management plan to improve the Hal Greer Boulevard corridor between Washington Boulevard and 3rd Avenue so that it becomes safer for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists and more conducive to redevelopment has been given approval and will now enter the engineering phase with construction projected to begin in summer 2021.
The Corridor Management Plan is the product of intensive collaboration and communication between the City of Huntington, Fairfield residents, the KYOVA Interstate Planning Commission, Marshall University, Cabell Huntington Hospital and the West Virginia Division of Highways.
During the formation of the Corridor Management Plan, there were at least four opportunities for the public to speak directly with consultants from Stantec, Inc., a project management firm, and the project team. Public meetings were held throughout the process to present ideas and gather feedback. These included a project symposium during the beginning phase, a multi-day workshop with two public meetings during the middle phase, and an open house during the last phase that allowed the project team to present final recommendations.
In addition to the public meetings, there was an opportunity for the public to be engaged and offer comments or feedback online at completehalgreer.com. This website included project updates, information about public meetings, an online survey, and an interactive map. The website is still active and can be used to view the final plan and design recommendations.
There were several guiding principles in the creation of the corridor management plan, including the safety of all users; prioritized consideration for pedestrians and bicyclists; addressing storm water issues; and supporting quality development and redevelopment.
The planned improvements along the Hal Greer corridor include:
- Widening the sidewalks on the east side, protected midblock crossings with rectangular rapid flashing beacons, high-visibility crosswalks, pedestrian countdown signals at intersections, and planted medians to address storm water issues and control turning movements.
- Installation of new pedestrian lighting along Hal Greer from Washington Boulevard to 3rd Avenue.
- Realigning Charleston and 10th avenues on either side of the former Northcott Court to straighten out the intersections and eliminate redundant stop lights.
- The remaining stop lights will be reconfigured to allow for a more efficient pathway for automobiles traveling along Hal Greer. According to the simulation models, the roadway improvements will reduce the overall corridor delay by 12-15 percent.
- Major safety improvements near Cabell Huntington Hospital, especially for pedestrians. This includes the construction of a Danish crossing (pedestrian island) at the intersection of Columbia and 13th avenues, which will give pedestrians a safe refuge while crossing Hal Greer. The entrance to Cabell Huntington Hospital and Medical Center Drive will be redesigned and will include aligned crosswalks and upgraded signals for pedestrians crossing Hal Greer.
- Reconfiguring of the roadway near Marshall’s campus between 3rd and 7th avenues to add a two-way cycle track, which will be protected from traffic by additional parallel parking.
Improving the Hal Greer corridor was a major component of the winning revitalization plan that the City of Huntington submitted for the America’s Best Communities competition. The revitalization plan relied on input from hundreds of community members.
“It is equally pleasing to see that the Fairfield community has had a strong voice in the development of the Hal Greer Corridor Management Plan,” said MaRia Hill, chairwoman of the Fairfield Community Development Corporation. “Our residents have sought a safer corridor for all users for many years now.”
Engineering work should be completed by spring 2021, and construction is slated to begin in summer 2021. The project will tentatively be completed in fall or winter 2022. The estimated cost of the project for engineering, design and construction is $9.93 million. More than 80 percent of the cost will come from KYOVA through federal Surface Transportation Block Grant Program funds. The remaining matching funds will come from the City of Huntington.
"Huntington is becoming the economic gateway to the Appalachian region, and Hal Greer Boulevard is the front door,” Mayor Steve Williams said. “It is only fitting that Hal Greer Boulevard, which is the main artery to downtown Huntington and Marshall University, receive needed improvements to enable and support the coming Fairfield community revitalization so that it is safer for all users.
“Hal Greer Boulevard is the major gateway to downtown Huntington and Marshall University, and the Corridor Management Plan is essential to the future development and resiliency of our region,” KYOVA Executive Director Chris Chiles said. “Without the outstanding level of leadership, teamwork, and collaboration from all of the partners, this initiative could not experience the same level of success. KYOVA fully recognizes the positive impact of this project, and we are completely committed to its timely completion.”