GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The Department of Transportation’s plans to widen Evans Street to improve driver and pedestrian safety is hitting a speed bump with some people living nearby.
The Evans Street Widening Project would change the corridor from Greenville Boulevard to Cooper Street in Winterville to four lanes and add sidewalks and bike lanes.
Not everyone is happy with the plans though. That’s because the expansion will impact several nearby neighborhoods, including Shamrock, South Hall, and Paramore. The wider road will cut into their land, which some say will lower property values.
For South Hall, it would mean tearing down the brick wall separating it from Evans Street, though DOT has promised to rebuild it. For Shamrock, it would mean wrecking the berm which residents have invested nearly $10,000 in.
Mary Snow Hill is one of those residents. She’s asking DOT to rethink parts of the project.
“I don’t see any reason to add a bike lane to Evans Street extension. I know that we want to be pedestrian friendly in Greenville. I get that. But we can still include the sidewalks and not encroach so much on our neighborhood,” Hill said.
After hearing about resident’s efforts to talk DOT out of bike lanes, Tony Parker decided to fight back.
“People depend upon sidewalks and bike lanes to get to class, to get to work. There’s a dignity issue here. We have people who are forced to walk on muddy paths or in the street and all they want to do is go to work. They want to go to work, punch a clock, earn some money, walk home, and they can’t,” Parker said.
Parker made a petition which has gained nearly 200 signatures in less than a week. He plans to present it to City Council in February.
DOT has not yet finalized plans and is still taking feedback from citizens and City Council. Construction is set to begin in 2021 and should be complete by 2024.