Citizen's View: D Avenue project taking shape
The City and many residents in the First Addition neighborhood are eager to see a long-awaited neighborhood pathway, street and stormwater improvement project take shape along D Avenue this year.
The D Avenue Improvement Project will reconstruct the entire 10 blocks of D Avenue from State Street to 10th Street, all within the existing public right-of-way. Additional utility improvements will also take place on portions of First Street, Seventh Street, Eighth Street, Ninth Street and E Avenue.
The design incorporates a much safer way for pedestrians — especially students and seniors — to connect to schools, downtown businesses, the library and other services in the neighborhood. It also helps address significant stormwater issues and rebuilds old, deteriorated underground utilities in this area of the neighborhood.
When construction is complete, the road and corridor along D Avenue will look different — the lanes for vehicles will be about the same width, but will have been shifted. Portions of the road alignment will meander with slight curves to allow for the new sidewalk, bioswales and rain garden areas necessary to manage and treat stormwater, and more clearly delineate the parking areas within the public right-of way.
Many neighbors are excited about the rain gardens, landscaping, sidewalk and overall roadway design. The City and project team has worked diligently to include neighbors in the design and respond to requests or concerns. Through two walking tours, two Open Houses, questionnaires, three in-person updates to the First Addition Forest Hills Neighborhood Association Board, phone calls, emails and dozens of face-to-face meetings, property owners, neighbors and the broader community have provided extensive input throughout the design phase and have had many opportunities to get involved. The project has had great public participation, and overall there is strong awareness and support for the project.
Thank you to all neighbors who have participated and shared your thoughts, concerns and ideas on improvements for the project. We appreciate your willingness to be involved and have enjoyed working with each of you to develop the design.
The City and project design team put forth a great effort in juggling all competing interests by working with individual property owners to shift elements of the design in order to minimize tree removal, avoid impacts to healthy trees, provide essential parking and manage the difficult task of capturing and treating stormwater runoff along the entire length of the corridor. To accommodate the improvements, the City has applied for the removal of 49 trees from the public right-of-way. Twenty two of these trees are invasive species, and many others are in poor health. Mitigation efforts will replant 75 new, site-appropriate evergreens and deciduous trees, the majority of which are natives.
The final designs are now available on the project website, along with the tree removal application and a host of other project information. We encourage you to view the plans, sign up to receive our regular email updates, or contact us directly with any questions at http://www.d-ave.org.
Project Manager Rob Amsberry and Citizen Information Specialist Katy Kerklaan are members of the City's D Avenue Improvement Project Team.