Stop the DOT from eliminating a Clement Blvd Overpass NOW!
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There has been a lot of news recently about the DOT's plans to widen and change Hwy 321 through Hickory. The original plans for an overpass were recently changed to a "Super Street" design at the Hwy 321/Clement Blvd intersection. These changes present huge barriers to Hickory’s growth and development. Drivers will no longer be able to drive straight across Hwy 321. We will be forced to make a right turn, cross 2 lanes of traffic to a median, wait for oncoming traffic, make a U-turn crossing 2 more lanes of traffic, then make another right turn. The change would also prevent a left turn onto southbound Hwy 321. This decision was based on projections for population growth and current "car counts" from the last few years. This is very short-sighted, as major investments are in the works that will dramatically affect these traffic projections as this district grows. The DOT plan has NOT taken this into account! Everyone who accesses Hwy 321, people who commute into Hickory, people who frequent Hickory restaurants and businesses, and Hickory residents will all be affected.
Super Street designs have been heavily opposed by NC towns in the past year after the DOT proposed them as a less-expensive way to expedite traffic flow. These models are NOT in the best interest of local communities. Hickory citizens need to fight this model and keep the DOT from using us as their guinea pig. In early 2017 Matthews, Indian Trail, and Stallings, NC fought the DOT on this issue and won! Residents voiced their concerns and the DOT plan was changed! We need to tell our state representatives that we want to protect and preserve our town, making it a destination, not a by-pass.
Hickory will be negatively affected by this Super Street plan in the following ways:
First, $40 million in bond money has been voted on and approved by Hickory residents for projects connecting Downtown to Lake Hickory for pedestrians and bikers. This is designed to be a regional draw and the corridor is best accessed at Clement Blvd. By not allowing east/west access across 321 here, the entire west side of Hickory is limited in accessing this new amenity.
Second, major improvements have also been made at our Crawdads baseball stadium, and more are planned with the coming Riverwalk Project. The new intersection will cause major traffic flow issues as people attempt to cross Hwy 321 to get to and from games. Also, investors are looking at the very large building next door to the Crawdad's stadium. This could be a major sports complex which will bring quite a bit of traffic year round.
Third, Hickory’s airport is a key feature to the area’s economic development. The Super Street design would make it more difficult to get from most of Hickory to the airport, and vice-versa.
Fourth, if mass transit is introduced in this part of town, buses or other larger vehicles will have to make three turns just to cross Hwy 321.
Finally, right now there are a number of major commercial efforts underway to develop both sides of 321 and Old Lenoir Road. Cutting off east/west vehicular access is a huge stumbling block to development of this area and will increase congestion on 321.
Hickory needs to be a place people drive "TO" not “THROUGH.” Keeping the Clement Blvd overpass would be a tremendous aid for positive growth in Hickory. Its elimination will have negative effects for years. For Hickory to grow it has to be easier to get here, not harder. PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION NOW.
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