CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The city of Charlotte plans to speed up construction of a sidewalk where two children were killed along West Tyvola Road. The project will be complete in June 2014 instead of 2015, officials now say.
In February 2012, Kadrien Pendergrass, 5, and his 1-year-old brother, Jeremy Brewton, were killed by a delivery truck on West Tyvola Road at Shady Lane.
That section of road doesn’t have sidewalks but was ranked second on a list of unfunded sidewalk projects in terms of importance. A month after the fatalities, the City Council voted to fund the sidewalk, but construction on the .37-mile project has not yet begun.
City officials said Wednesday they decided to speed up the project after The Observer questioned its pace in a story last week.
Charlotte City Manager Ron Carlee said the city’s engineering staff decided to put extra resources into the project.
“This was so large in the community’s eyes,” Carlee said about the accident. “I didn’t impress this upon them. They asked, ‘Can we re-arrange things?’ ”
Support from landowners along West Tyvola Road will speed up negotiations with the city over acquisition of property needed to build the sidewalk, according to City Council member LaWana Mayfield, who represents the district where the neighborhood is located.
City staff this week started reaching out to homeowners, Mayfield said. The real estate transfers are expected to start next month.
Michelle Dolphus, 53, is one of the homeowners who is eager to sell her land to the city and see the sidewalk installed.
“I am anxiously awaiting for them to get started,” said Dolphus, who bought her house at 4501 West Tyvola Road 14 years ago. “The other day I saw a young mother pushing a stroller in one hand and pulling a toddler in the other as busy traffic was coming down.
“I thought, ‘This is absurd.’ ”
In a memo Wednesday, the city said the first phase of the project – community involvement and planning – took eight months, from April to November 2012. The city said it held two public meetings to “ensure property owner input was heard and considered in planning and design.”
The city said the design phase of the project was expected to take six or seven months. But the city finished the design a month ahead of schedule.
Carlee said the “public image” issue over the sidewalk was important and that extra resources were warranted.
“Some other things in the pipeline will go slower,” Carlee said.