With the purchase of Mountain State University, West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU Tech) anticipated a growing student body biking or walking along Kanawha Street, a main corridor passing through the campus in downtown Beckley, West Virginia. Working with the Fayette-Raleigh Metropolitan Planning Organization (FRMPO), B&N studied the existing public streets and surrounding amenities to identify potential recommended improvements to enhance pedestrian and bicyclists traffic safety and flow. Short-term and long-term recommendations were identified to phase improvements and spread funding.
Short-term recommendations included striping of crosswalks at key locations in the corridor, improving walks and curb ramps to meet American Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations, and installing pedestrian crossing signage. Long-term recommendations identified ADA compliant routes to the YMCA of Southern West Virginia, where students can use the YMCA fitness amenities. Other bicycle connections from campus run through downtown Beckley to the Beckley Rail Trail, then connect from the Beckley Rail Trail to the YMCA Paul Cline Memorial Youth Sports Complex, where WVU Tech sports teams practice and host meets.
In addition to the improvements on Kanawha Street, information on additional needs for the corridor were gathered through stakeholder coordination with the university, city officials, and bicycle groups. University and City of Beckley officials were concerned that current pedestrian safety issues at the intersections of Robert C. Byrd Drive with Prince Street and Neville Street would be exacerbated.
FRMPO asked B&N to explore the feasibility and impacts of implementing improved pedestrian crossings including traffic signal operation changes. The effort included traffic analysis, analysis of historic data on pedestrian crashes, and to-scale layouts showing potential crosswalk locations and designs including required curb and median changes. B&N evaluated details such as overall pedestrian movement patterns for analysis. B&N worked with the WVU Tech Civil Engineering department for data collection to reduce the cost of the study.
Four pedestrian crossing concepts were developed based on the results of the traffic operations analysis, crash patterns, and observed pedestrian demand. These concepts were generated to-scale on an aerial imagery. Preliminary cost estimates for the pedestrian crossing concepts were completed. A technical memorandum was prepared that summarized all analyses; illustrated the identified pedestrian crossing concepts; and described the feasibility, impacts, and costs.