NEWBURYPORT -- Construction on the Parker Street “shared use pathway” portion of the Clipper City Rail Trail will likely begin this fall, according to  Geordie Vining, the city's senior project manager, resulting in a safer crossing for pedestrians and cyclists.

The project would extend the rail trail 500 feet along the northern side of Parker Street, and is focused on improving the crossing of State Street at its intersection with Parker, where there are no accommodations for pedestrians or cyclists.

Vining outlined the project plans during a public information meeting remotely held via Zoom on Thursday. The meeting was attended by representatives from TEC, the state’s contractor for the project.

Vining said the project is about to go before the Conservation Commission with its notice of intent, and that he hopes design and permitting will be finished by the end of the summer. Construction should follow, he said, beginning in the early fall, and could be finished by the end of 2020.

The design is supported by Community Preservation Act funding, and construction will be backed by a $400,000 state Complete Streets grant secured by the city this year.

Vining noted that right now, the Parker Street crossing has “no kind of accommodations” for pedestrians or bicyclists, and that the project’s approach will make it safer “on a number of counts for pedestrians crossing.”

Vining said the intersection will have bumped out curbing that will leave pedestrians less exposed, a painted crosswalk and a pedestrian-activated signal.

Vining also noted that a 300-foot stretch of the rail trail runs through the town of Newbury, and that city officials have been talking with Newbury officials and members of the Coastal Trails Coalition about MassTrails grants that are available and could help the town pay for construction.

A few residents chimed in during the meeting, expressing their approval of the project’s safety features.

This pathway project will connect with the state Department of Transportation’s project to construct pedestrian and bicyclist accommodations to cross Route 1 and the rotary, which is about a year behind the city’s project.

On Thursday, Vining said the Route 1 rotary project will include a “slight shift” in the rotary’s center island and pavement markings to identify turning lanes.

For more information, contact Vining at gvining@cityofnewburyport.com

 

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