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Survey: Research Park needs sidewalks

December 18, 2010

By KELLY DANIELS
citybeat@bellsouth.net

The Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park is now a potential site for a mile-long path pedestrian path.
A majority of tenants and employees of Research Boulevard would frequently use a separate lane for pedestrians, especially if a lunch cafe opened on the road, according to surveys gathered by Dr. Ron Cossman during a recent public hearing on the matter.
Currently listed as one of Starkville in Motion’s “Top 10” roads in need of pedestrian options, the park gives many students, faculty and local residents a place to count their miles as they exercise.
Many who filled out the survey reported concerns of future accidents and of numerous incidents where their cars almost hit people on foot or on bicycles.
“Given the number of pedestrians and cyclists currently present, a solution which will create a safe, designated area for those users is critical to maintaining the safety in the Research Park,” wrote Jim Gafford, an employee at the park’s Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems (CAVS) and chairman of the City of Starkville’s Transportation Committee.
“Love the idea,” wrote Dallas Breen, an employee at the park’s Social Science Research Center (SSRC).
Another member of the CAVS staff, Clemence Bouvard, quit walking at the park after experiencing a close call with a car.
“If we can have a safe place to walk, I will definitely use it,” Bouvard said.
Alyson O. Karges, who also works at the park, wrote,”Please add a walking path. I would hate to end up as a hood ornament. A biking path is much more essential.”
Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale, another SSRC employee, said her work schedule makes it hard for her to find time to exercise.
“Having a pedestrian lane would make me more comfortable with taking a power walk around the Research Park —and therefore more likely to ‘get my exercise in,’ especially on evenings when I’m working late,” she wrote.
“The likelihood is strong that it is only a matter of time before an unfortunate incident occurs to possibly seriously injure someone,” wrote SSRC student Thomas A. Robinson in his survey response.
Dr. John F. Edwards wrote that he almost hit a pedestrian while driving.
“This is a very dangerous situation,” the SSRC employee’s survey read.
“There have been several times when I have been driving to work, turned a corner and have been caught off guard by a walker or cyclist,” wrote Samantha Smith, a staff member at the Institute of Clean Energy and Technology (ICET). Cossman, who applied for state Department of Transportation funding for the Lynn Lane multi-use path, said the 38 surveys collected reflect the opinions of a select group.

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