Elon Bicycle, Pedestrian and Lighting Plan. Pedestrian Rail Crossings Study

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1 Elon Bicycle, Pedestrian and Lighting Plan Pedestrian Rail Crossings Study Project Overview The Town of Elon, Elon University and the Twin Lakes Retirement Community began a comprehensive bicycle, pedestrian and lighting master plan process in the Fall of The planning process is working to identify bicycle and pedestrian, and outdoor lighting corridors that will be used by residents, students and visitors to Elon. The following draft vision statement is guiding the development of goals, policies, programs and projects proposed for this plan: Draft Vision Statement In the year 2025 the Town of Elon will have a pedestrian, bicycle and lighting system that will tie major residential areas together; providing students and residents safe and well-lit access from residential areas to campus, academic and recreational facilities and the downtown. Elon will maintain a quality of life that is green, safe and healthy, accommodating students and residents needs. Spacious bicycle and pedestrian paths will exist downtown and will also connect with Burlington and Gibsonville encouraging walking, running and biking throughout Elon and neighboring communities. Facilities will be safe, functional, innovative, well-used and maintained. Elon will provide connectivity between residences and grocery shopping, restaurants and other destinations, providing key access points to destinations and anchors of activity in the Town and University. Rail Crossing Issues Many of the draft priority corridors identified by the plan Task Force for improvement cross the North Carolina Railroad (NCRR) right of way and tracks, including Oak Street, Williamson Street and University Drive. Pedestrian and bicycle traffic has been observed at all of these key locations. The intersection of the railroad with both Williamson and Oak Street has a significant level of pedestrian, bicycle and automobile traffic. There have been 5 pedestrian or bicyclist crashes, including one death near these intersections between , which represents over 55% of the pedestrian and bicycle crashes in the Town of Elon for the same time period. The NCRR, the Town of Elon and Elon University are working jointly to improve pedestrian safety. A pedestrian tunnel is planned for construction under the railroad near O Kelley Avenue to divert pedestrians that would be crossing the tracks at grade into the tunnel. This will reduce pedestrian track crossings at O Kelley, Antioch, Kerr and Oak Street to some degree. There will continue to be pedestrian traffic at the railroad intersection of Williamson and of Oak Street. Safe at-grade pedestrian crossings are needed to improve access and safety at both of these intersections to enhance accessibility crossing at the railroad tracks, but also to discourage pedestrians from walking in the roadway where vehicles are consistently present. The maps found on page 2 and 3 below show the proposed pedestrian, bicycle and lighting projects in the vicinity of the intersections of the railway with Williamson and Oak Street. Page 4-7 show examples of pedestrian facilities at or near railroad crossings that are designed to improve the safety of pedestrians crossing or walking near railways. 1 of 7 Pedestrian Rail Crossings Study

2 The intersection of Williamson Avenue and the North Carolina Railroad is an important pedestrian crossing and is proposed for intersection improvement. Figure 1 below shows a draft map of existing and proposed transportation infrastructure at a scale of 1 to 500. The area north of the NC Railroad consists of Elon University and downtown. The Town Hall and Post Office is located south of the railroad, generating significant pedestrian traffic. Figure 1 - Williamson Avenue and NC Railroad Crossing 2 of 7 Pedestrian Rail Crossings Study

3 The intersection of Oak Street and the North Carolina Railroad generates some pedestrian traffic and is proposed for intersection improvement. Figure 2 below show a draft map of existing and proposed transportation infrastructure at a scale of 1 to 500. There are athletic fields planned to the east of Oak Street south of the railroad, which will increase foot traffic through this intersection. Sidewalk is proposed along Oak Street and a shared use pathway is proposed to connect the intersection of Oak Street and Trollinger Street with the athletic fields. A pedestrian tunnel is planned for construction under the railroad near O Kelley Avenue to divert pedestrians that would be crossing the tracks at grade. This will reduce the number of pedestrians crossing the tracks at grade. Figure 2 - Oak Street and NC Railroad Crossing 3 of 7 Pedestrian Rail Crossings Study

4 The following Figures 3-6 are taken from the report: Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing Handbook Revised Second Edition 2007, These figures can be referenced in the full report, each page number is included below the figure. Figure 3 - Placement of Automatic Pedestrian Gates provides an aerial view of additional pedestrian automatic gates to prevent the pedestrian from entering the immediate track right-of-way when a train is approaching. Figure 3 - Placement of Automatic Pedestrian Gates Source: Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing Handbook Revised 2nd Edition 2007, p of 7 Pedestrian Rail Crossings Study

5 Figure 4 Pedestrian Automatic Gate Examples below shows an example of two different automatic pedestrian gate applications. The cost for installing these gates were not immediately available and will vary depending engineering and labor rates, lease or rental of equipment and other miscellaneous costs. Figure 4 - Pedestrian Automatic Gate Examples Source: Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing Handbook Revised 2nd Edition 2007, p of 7 Pedestrian Rail Crossings Study

6 Figure 5 Pedestrian Swing Gate Examples is not applicable for any applications in Elon, but is more appropriate for light rail crossings at station locations. This example is provided in the case that passenger rail station development in Elon is proposed in future transportation projects. Figure 5 - Pedestrian Swing Gate Examples Source: Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing Handbook Revised 2nd Edition 2007, p of 7 Pedestrian Rail Crossings Study

7 Figure 6 - Salem, OR 12th Street Pedestrian Safety Promenade below shows an example of how a frontage road was converted into a pedestrian promenade in Salem, Oregon along the freight railroad line. Figure 6 - Salem, OR 12th Street Pedestrian Safety Promenade Source: Perils for Pedestrians, RESOURCES: Special Issues with Railroad Crossings Guidance for Traffic Control and Highway Grade Crossings Rails With Trails a Closer Look at Safety and Grade Crossings 7 of 7 Pedestrian Rail Crossings Study

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