Pathways Commission hears update on Oxford Way road
By Reid Posey
Construction plans for the extension of the Oxford Way road from the existing County Road 300 to South Lamar Boulevard near the new Oxford Farms development are on the table and Oxford Pathways Commission members are weighing in.
Landscape architect Henry Minor of the Memphis-based Dalhoff Thomas Design Studio brought Pathways members up to speed Monday on the latest developments with Oxford Way. The architects were previously granted a variance by the city of Oxford to narrow the proposed roadway.
By narrowing the roadway, planners hope to create a safer environment for pedestrians and cyclists in new residential and commercial areas by slowing the speed of traffic, which is to be capped at a 30 mph speed limit.
While the south side of Oxford Way will feature a traditional 5-foot-wide sidewalk, the north side will be bordered by a 10-foot-wide multi-use asphalt path that can safely accommodate pedestrians and cyclists. Both the sidewalk and asphalt path will be separated from the road by a grass strip, ranging from 15 to 20 feet in width at various points along the road, providing a buffer zone between pedestrians and traffic.
While members of the Pathways Commission expressed enthusiasm over Oxford Way’s role in improving the general connectedness of the town and providing new routes for Oxford residents to enjoy, they also maintained that safety should be the top priority moving forward. The primary concerns voiced by Pathways members revolved around the design of safer crosswalks for pedestrians and cyclists at intersections along the roadways.
Pathways Chairwoman Kate Kellum suggested the implementation of signage for both pedestrians and vehicles near these crosswalks as well as the widening, and even possibly raising the crosswalks to heighten their visibility to oncoming traffic.
“We need to make it clear to the cars that this is where people might be,” said Kellum.
Minor also mentioned that at certain busy intersections there will be call buttons for pedestrians for safer crossings. Once plans for the traffic signals progress, Minor said that he will be able to come back to Pathways and have a more concrete discussion with the members on the best way to ensure safety.
Also on the agenda for Pathways Monday was discussing the remainder of the events for this year’s Bike Month.
On Wednesday, there will be group rides of various skill levels leaving from City Hall around 5:30 p.m., followed by a meeting about the reformation of the Oxford Bicycle Club at Trustmark Bank beginning around 7 p.m., which will include sodas and beer.
Friday is “Bike to Work” day, and cyclists are encouraged to stop by City Hall between 7:30 to 9 a.m. for coffee and breakfast snacks.
On Saturday, there will be a morning ride to generate interest in the cycling community beginning at High Point Coffee at 8:30 and continuing with a subsequent group ride. After the group ride, the event will conclude at the Growler around lunchtime. Kellum stressed that all skill and interest levels are encouraged to join, but that people are more than welcome to skip the ride and join for the coffee and beer portions if they simply want to learn more about the cycling community and have a fun time.
May 24 and 31 are “Bike to Lunch” days, in which participants can meet at the Lyceum at noon for a group ride to a lunch destination.