What is your favorite BIG Picture idea for Huntsville

Mitigating the Great Wall of Parkway

Aside from being ugly, the Parkway is antithetical to all forms of unmotorized traffic, whether that traffic is moving parallel to the roadway or attempting to cross it. It cuts a scar through Huntsville from south to north, in many places creating a no-man's land that isolates neighborhoods and business districts. But the thoroughfare does have its purpose (moving automobile traffic) and we are stuck with it. What can we do to improve the situation for unmotorized traffic?

 

Let me start by explaining a problem I have. I work in the area on South Parkway near Golf Road where Torch Technologies is located. This area has seen new investment in infrastructure, an increase in occupancy, and now a research facility is being built there. It is the seed for a growing research park is SE Huntsville. There are newly renovated and newly constructed apartment complexes in the same corner with Martin Rd. We also have the big renovation and buildout of John Hunt Park to create this wonderful multi-use park facility nearby. However, Martin Road and the Parkway, especially with the new changes, cut this area completely off from areas on the other side of these two thoroughfares. I would, in particular, love to be able to ride my bike to work from my Southeast Huntsville home at the foot of Green Mountain. I once rode through the neighborhoods behind Whitesburg School and came out on the railroad tracks across from the Golf Road underpass. I found a way to cross the ditch beyond the tracks and then worked my way back down to the underpass to cross the Parkway. That ditch and the Parkway were just enough of a barrier together that I never rode my bike in again. Now there is a fence at that exit to the neighborhood, probably to keep thieves and other unwanted people out. The only other ways over are Martin and Airport. Their intersections are very congested, designed exclusively for cars, and necessitate a ride down the access roads (where there are no sidewalks) to get to the Torch complex.

 

I'd like to suggest bridging the gap over the RR tracks and the ditch with a paved pedestrian/bike path that emerges at Whiteburg school, extends along the east access road, and includes a conspicuous, pedestrian crosswalk at the Golf Road underpass. Maybe create another separated path along the west side of the Parkway, joining John Hunt and the Torch and Apartment complexes. You could think about providing some way for people and bikes to navigate the Martin Road overpass. Many people would like to ride their bikes to work on the arsenal or to the aforementioned facilities on the Parkway.

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Idea No. 197