Preliminary plans for redesigning the High Street intersection at Euclid Avenue and Fontaine Road in Lexington's Chevy Chase neighborhood call for shrinking the intersection, medians for safer pedestrian crossings on both streets, trees, rain gardens and benches.
Other ideas presented at a public meeting Tuesday at Faith Lutheran Church showed possible back-in angled parking on Euclid and more bike lanes.
Three plans were shown to the audience of about 50 residents, though differences among them were not significant. Palmer Engineering, a civil engineering firm with headquarters in Winchester, has partnered with M2D landscape architects of Lexington on the project.
Tuesday's meeting sought input from the community and concentrated on gathering ideas for improving the intersection. David Lindeman, president of Palmer Engineering, asked people in the audience to write their reactions on comment forms.
The goal of the redesign, he said, is to improve traffic flow, increase green space, make the intersection friendlier to pedestrians and bicyclists, and capture the beauty and charm of the neighborhood.
Until plans are completed, Lindeman said, he could not give a cost estimate. Improvements are tied to funding, and the city has no money for the project now. The city will apply for a federal grant administered through the state highway department.
One woman reacted negatively to back-in angled parking. "It will never work here," she said. However, neighborhood resident Kate Savage said, "We do it in Europe all the time. And it works."
Another audience member suggested putting a bike lane next to the sidewalk, to separate cyclists from street traffic. But Lindeman said, "Serious cyclists prefer to be on the street."
Janice Langston, owner of Janice's at the Salt Box at 859 East High Street, said that while she did not know of any pedestrian being hit by a car while crossing High Street in front of her interior design shop, "having medians in the middle would make it safer."
"You take your life in your hands when you cross the street to go to the drug store," Langston said before the meeting. "There is a lot of traffic, and cars fly down this road. You've really got to study (the traffic) before you cross."
Several in the audience asked about trees, green space and general beautification of the intersection, but Lindeman said those questions would be addressed at a second public meeting.
Urban County Council member Cheryl Feigel, who represents the area, said the redesign idea got started after a constituent complained to her that the intersection's traffic islands were cracked, broken and looked horrible.