The long-sought pedestrian bridge over Glenwood Avenue near the Crabtree Valley Mall might finally come to fruition.
The bridge could come as a part of a redevelopment project on Charles Drive, off of Lead Mine Road, which is known for being one of the most congested parts of the city. Developers have committed to paying for building and maintaining the bridge that would connect the north and south side of Glenwood Avenue.
The connection would give pedestrians and bicyclists safe and easy access to the mall and the nearby greenways.
There would also be some other connectivity improvements, including a connecting road to Marriott Drive.
The project is to redevelop an existing 112-unit apartment community. The plans for the mixed-use project include 175 residential units and 125,000 square feet of retail space with small boutiques and restaurants.
Developers say the retail space won’t be built until the pedestrian bridge is constructed.
“We are open to whatever it takes,” Attorney Robin Curin said of getting the bridge built.
The bridge is a part of the city’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan and is an old request from area residents. Traffic along Glenwood has been a complaint, and came up last April during discussion of another mixed-use development in the area.
The developer isn’t the only one who has a say in the construction of the bridge. In order for it to be connected to the mall, both the developer and mall executives must come to an agreement.
While mall representatives have expressed openness and support for the bridge, ultimately it will have to be in the best interest of their tenants and trustees.
The bridge, and additional connection to Marriott Drive, is to alleviate the impact the new development would have on the traffic-plagued intersection.
Neither is expected to fix the problem, but could convert some driving traffic into pedestrian traffic as area residents, workers or hotel guests opt to walk instead of drive across the street.
“I couldn’t imagine what this city could ask more of a developer,” Planning Commissioner Steven Schuster said this week.
He encouraged city staff, the developer and mall representatives to continue their discussions so that the bridge project can be moved forward.
The project could be considered for a vote by the City Council next week.