Morgantown considers sidewalk program

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — American Rescue Plan funds would be used in a sidewalk improvement program for Morgantown.

Morgantown Staff Engineer Drew Gatlin has recommended a $2.5 million investment in the first year and $1 million each year after.

“There are four major activities I think you should do in 2023, guild, plan, design and evaluate,” Gatlin recently told Morgantown City Council.

The plan includes connecting existing sidewalks to other areas and creating a network that pedestrians can use to access all areas of the city. Gatlin said the connected network will have defined pedestrian thoroughfares that are expected to improve safety.

“You can see the density of sidewalks drops off the further we get away from the city-center, so we’re trying to fan out that network,” Gatlin said.

Gatlin suggested connecting the patchwork of sidewalks on Monongalia Avenue; the construction of a sidewalk along Richwood Avenue from Jerome Park into Woodburn. He said a priority for the program should be section of sidewalk along Dorsey Avenue.

“Connecting the sidewalk that ends not quite at the top of Grand Street all the way down to Dorsey via Ross,” Gatlin said. “This one connects First Ward and Second Ward.”

Gatlin said Morgantown has about 75 miles of sidewalks. He added investments in pedestrian infrastructure items will outlast other infrastructure projects.

“I’d say the last 50, maybe 60 and some of them maybe 100 years but it depends on the quality of construction,” Gatlin said.

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