TUPELO • The new bike lane corridor in the Joyner neighborhood could potentially be a blueprint for other revitalization projects in Tupelo.
The first step for the new bike lane corridor will take place Friday. From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Joyner Avenue, Clayton Avenue and Woodlawn Street will be completely closed as Kimes and Stone Construction Company will fog seal the proposed bike lane corridor.
“We do realize there is some inconvenience there to the public, but at the same time, it will be well worth (the results),” said Dennie Bonds, the Tupelo city engineer.
The project began in the winter prior to him becoming city engineer in March and was developed by then-interim engineer Dustin Dabbs, Bonds said. Bonds will be advising the project and giving input as needed.
There will be additional steps in the neighborhood revitalization project. The Joyner bike corridor serves as a pilot project for other revitalization projects, said Leesha Faulker, the city hall communications director.
“I’m sure we’ll see this in other neighborhoods in the coming months and years,” Faulkner said.
The date for fog seal treatment was determined by choosing a dry and warm time during the year. The window for this type of treatment is typically from May to October, but the excessive rainfall has been a hurdle in having the treatment take place sooner.
After the fog seal, the next steps will be adding new lane striping and additional signs. The pavement marking will take a few additional days but will be scheduled based on the scheduling of Kimes and Stone Construction Company, the city’s contractor.
“There will be some additional stop signs. That’s about traffic calming. We’re going to allow access for people on bicycles and (are) trying to be aware of that,” Bonds said.
Residents were mostly notified of the construction over social media. Barry Carroll, a resident of the Joyner neighborhood, said he found out about the bike corridor through a neighborhood association social media post Tuesday and felt the timing was a little inconvenient for people who needed to leave.
“That’s kind of ridiculous. Are they going to pay the people who are missing a day of work? That doesn’t make sense to me. They picked a bad time to do it,” Carroll said.
However, he said he would definitely use the bike lane and felt it was good overall, as cars tend not to give bikers right-of-way.
David Handley, another resident of Joyner neighborhood, said he felt the information he was given about bike lane construction was vague yet was happy about the idea of bike lanes. He is part of the Northeast Mississippi Cycling Club, a local biking group, and said several members ride through the neighborhood on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
“Having a bike lane is wonderful. We’re absolutely thrilled it’s going to be put in and (are excited for) an awareness of biking overall in the city,” Handley said.
City Hall has posted about the project mostly through social media, and Faulkner said that Mayor Jason Shelton and other city and public works employees would hand flyers out door to door Wednesday.
“We understand this is an inconvenience, but 45 minutes of inconvenience is well worth the benefit of making our city more bike friendly, more walker friendly, and it’s one of those quality-of-life things Jason talks about so much,” Faulkner said.