Council to discuss sidewalk construction after brothers killed

Council to discuss sidewalk construction after brothers killed


by TONY BURBECK / NewsChannel 36 Staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC

Posted on February 29, 2012 at 1:14 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 29 at 6:41 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- City Council members are exploring whether construction for sidewalks can be fast-tracked at an intersection where two kids were hit and killed by a truck.

However, decisions likely won’t be made until the budget is approved this summer.

The inquiry comes as six neighbors have asked the city to build sidewalks on West Tyvola Road and Shady Lane since last week’s accident.

One year-old Jeremy Brewton and five year-old Kadrien Pendergrass died after a Sears truck hit them as the truck made a right-hand turn.  The brothers were with their father and walking to daycare.

That area is currently second on the city’s priority list for new sidewalks, but there’s no money to build it.

Neighbors blame the deaths on the lack of sidewalks as well as the driver’s actions.

"It was hurtful that it happened, but I wasn't surprised that it happened,” said neighbor Hilda Bynum.

The deaths are also getting the attention of City Council members who starting work Wednesday on the next budget.

City Council member LaWana Mayfield represents the area where the boys died and wants to know if the city can reprioritize, either by using money already approved for other projects to build sidewalks where the boys died, or move the area up to the number one spot on the priority list so it would be the first sidewalk built if and when new money is approved.

"Public safety is job number one for a City Council person,” said council member Andy Dulin.  “We have to see what we can do.”

Council members say they typically don't exchange one project for another, because the sidewalks already funded are priorities in other neighborhoods as well.

"If it's a residential project and people have been waiting six to seven years, they might say no, we'd like for you to do our street first,” Dulin said.

Even if sidewalks end up fast-tracked, it could still take around two to three years to get built when you include studies and design, according to the Charlotte Department of Transportation.

Sidewalks are typically paid for by bond referendums.

If it costs Bynum more of her tax money, she says that's fine with her.

"It's worth it,” Bynum said.

The family buried Brewton and Pendergrass Tuesday.

Truck driver Dirk Brown is charged with two counts of misdemeanor death by vehicle. 

He is due in court April 5.