Kanawha renovations push pedestrians into the street

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Renovations around Kanawha Plaza in Richmond literally have pedestrians stepping into traffic.

Leo Carpenter takes the bus to work every day. The problem is, the bus only goes as far as 7th Street. He has to walk the remainder of his trip to work, right by the renovations at Kanawha Plaza.

kanawha 2He told 8News that since renovations began about a year ago, the commute has become dangerous.

“It’s not safe,” Carpenter said.

He and others said walking to work, or to the riverfront, has become like a game of Frogger.

“There is traffic coming at you in two different directions,” pedestrian Lisa Hearl said.

The problem occurs because there is currently no sidewalk in the area.

“They took out all the sidewalks around the perimeter of the park and it allows no safe walking area for anyone coming down 7th Street,” Carpenter said.

8News spotted many pedestrians having to step into the lanes of traffic just to get around the construction. When it rains, water pools, pushing pedestrians further into the roadway to avoid stepping in puddles.

“Actually, personally, I feel safer walking in the middle of the road than I do walking to the curb,” Hearl said.

person 2

Carpenter said drivers coming off the nearby ramp at Byrd and 7th often drive as fast as 30-35 miles an hour.

“I have to be careful or one of these days I am going to be clipped,” he said.

While there is a partial sidewalk on the other side of 7th, 8News was told that crossing Bryd street also has its dangers because of visual obstructions in the area.

“When people walk to the very end of the bridge, they can’t see around the corner and the trees kind of block their view from seeing the oncoming traffic,” Carpenter said.

Carpenter shared his Kanawha construction concerns with Richmond City’s park director back in November. In January, he was told a fix was coming soon.

“As of this date, they still have not done anything,” Carpenter said.

8News spoke with representatives from the Richmond Department of Public Works on Thursday. Representatives said that while the construction is still going on, they plan to redirect pedestrians to the 9th side of Kanawha plaza. They also said they plan to add some signage to help guide pedestrians toward the 9th side of the plaza.

pedestrians3Yet, for these pedestrians, the alternative route is out of the way and requires maneuvering across eight lanes of traffic. Instead, they said that they would prefer a temporary fix on 7th Street.

“Close that extreme right-hand lane closest to the construction site. At least that would give us some walkway that would be safe,” Carpenter said.

The Department of Public Works said the new signs redirecting pedestrians should be up by next week.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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