Sidewalk controversy continues in the Hill City

Fire association suggests city fund new bus route on Florida Avenue instead

LYNCHBURG, Va. – A Freedom of Information Act request made by the Lynchburg Fire Association reveals there was miscommunication between city leaders concerning buses in regards to the Florida Avenue sidewalk project.

"There were no pedestrian data, no public safety data, nothing to support the need for it," said Marty Misjuns, spokesperson for Lynchburg Fire Fighters Association IAFF Local 1146.

"In hindsight, we made a couple of errors," said City Manager Bonnie Sverck. "We're human and there was an error in the capital improvement where we double-counted cost of the Florida Avenue sidewalk and I had a misunderstanding that GLTC buses could not travel under the railroad and that, in fact, they can." 

City leaders are looking to construct a new sidewalk on Florida Avenue because it's currently unsafe for people who have to walk. The association said that, in the last 10 years, there have been seven accidents None of them involved pedestrians.

The city also learned that a bus can drive below the train trestle.

The association is suggesting the city increase the Greater Lynchburg Transit Company's funding to create a new bus route in the area.

"They can put in a new bus route service almost immediately, and that would provide ADA-compliant transportation that is safe year-round no matter the weather, and efficient for those people," Misjuns said.

The $9.9 million projected cost is subject to change.

"Seeing in the press release, I don't know the city is clear on how much it's going to cost. There hasn't been a clear answer on phase two, required or what," Misjuns said.

"One, we're dealing with a railroad. Two, we're dealing a relatively narrow road that will need to be elevated, walkways, which are not cheap. There will need to be a drainage system and the retaining walls, none of which are cheap."

Mayor Treney Tweedy told 10 News, "In light of the continued negative attack campaign from the local fire fighters association and particular council members against a sidewalk project on Florida Avenue, I will provide my full opinion and thoughts regarding the issue during the budget discussion on May 7.”

To read the full press release click here

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