Pedestrian improvements in Sunnyside continue to move forward with the recent completion of the 8th Street trailhead project and the 8th Street sidewalk project.
Construction of the 8th Street trailhead project began in July 2020 and was completed by Monco Constructors. The idea for the project was derived from the construction of Seneca Commons at the Seneca Center.
A requirement for that project included the construction of a sidewalk, which the city decided to connect with the rail-trail by creating a trailhead. Additional installations included bicycle improvements of two “runnels” that allow cyclists to easily navigate the stairway. Funding for the project totaled $92,333 and was paid using leftover Sunnyside TIF funds.
The City of Morgantown contracted Baiano Construction for the 8th Street sidewalk project, which began in October 2020. Construction consisted of the installation of 2,000 feet of sidewalk spanning the length of 8th Street with 10 ADA ramps, new high-capacity stormwater inlets, and a six-foot-wide bicycle lane from Beechurst Avenue to Grant Avenue. Funding for the project totaled $406,000 and was paid using Sunnyside TIF funds.
Additional improvements include the installation of two long-planned Mountain Line bus shelter locations at the intersection of Monongahela Boulevard and 8th Street.
To complete the sidewalk project, the city narrowed the lane size of 8th Street from two unseparated 13-foot-wide lanes to two separated 11-foot-wide lanes and removed three street parking spaces. These narrower-width lanes are more appropriate for urban streets in high-density areas. This helps reduce pedestrian crossing distances and slow average motor vehicle traffic to the street’s current 25 mph speed limit.
These projects are two of three 8th Street pedestrian improvement projects. The final project consists of installing pedestrian signage at University Avenue and 8th Street, the placement of three crosswalks, and two new Mountain Line bus shelters.
This project is still in the planning phases but is expected to be completed by August. Funds for this project will be shared between WVU, Monongalia County, and the City as part of the group’s Rapid Response Pedestrian Safety plan.