Friday, February 11, 2011

Council to review Woodside plan

Public input sought for final design

Express Staff Writer

Hailey residents ask questions during a public workshop at Woodside Elementary School on Jan. 27. Photo by David N. Seelig

When the city of Hailey received $3.5 million in federal grant money to rebuild 2.5 miles of Woodside Boulevard in Hailey, it triggered a public input process that could affect the neighborhood for generations.

Preliminary design plans called for five miles of sidewalks on city rights of way, a roundabout at the intersection of Fox Acres Road and the sacrifice of portions of front lawns in favor of safer pedestrian and bicycle routes.

More than 120 people participated in two public workshops on Jan. 26 and 27, providing comment to city officials on what they would like to see happen on Woodside Boulevard. Issues raised at the workshops included snow removal, widths of green space, the proposed roundabout at Fox Acres Road, traffic-slowing measures, loss of on-street parking, pedestrian and bike safety, sidewalk location, impacts to trees and shrubs, landscaping and sidewalk maintenance.

The comments will be presented to the Hailey City Council on Monday, Feb. 14, at 5:30 p.m. along with city staff recommendations. The meeting at Hailey City Hall is open to the public.

"Community input has been a tremendous help to our project team as we design a project that will meet the needs of everyone who uses it," Hailey Mayor Rick Davis said in a prepared statement.

He said the meeting will offer an opportunity to see how comments have been used to improve the design, hear what other people have told the city about the proposed improvements and learn about the next steps in the process.

Hailey Planning and Zoning Commissioner Geoffrey Moore, a resident of north Woodside Boulevard, said he was surprised at differences of opinion between residents at the north end of Woodside Boulevard and those living at the south end. The southern portions of the road have smaller front yards and would be more affected by the construction of sidewalks.

"Those living at the north end of Woodside Boulevard are more opposed to the city building on its right of way," he said.

In 2008, Woodside Boulevard was identified as the No. 1 priority for residential street improvements by citizens responding to a community-wide survey, and identified by the Hailey City Council as a key capital project in subsequent strategic planning sessions.

How that project moves forward will depend to some extent on public input on Monday.

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