July 2023 Update
Update 8/1: Since we published the update below, we’ve received a number of questions about the planned approach, current timeline, and relationship with other City projects (notably the currently ongoing sewer work in Spring Hill). We’ve answered the most commonly asked questions here.
Thank you to everyone who has shared feedback about the future of Highland Avenue. We appreciate your input about the city’s transportation needs and your traffic safety concerns on Highland Ave.
It remains a crucial goal of the Ballantyne Administration to rebuild a Highland Avenue with protected bike lanes, safer crosswalks, more traffic calming, improved bus services, and more greenery. These changes mean that only one parking lane can be provided on the Highland Ave of the future instead of the two that exist today. The City is committed to employing curb use strategies to make the best use of limited parking resources, prioritize access for persons with disabilities, and favor shorter term vehicular uses over long term vehicle storage.
The following message is intended to provide an update on the status of the project, provide clarity on what has changed since the November 2021 public meeting, and identify upcoming opportunities to move up the project’s timeline.
The City hosted the first Highland Avenue community meeting in November 2021 in anticipation of submitting a funding request to the City Council for design services at the end of that year. The funding request was not submitted as originally planned, however, due to the increased fiscal volatility in the COVID recovery era. This project, along with many other planned capital projects, was put on hold while the City reevaluated its financial capacity and developed a prioritized Capital Investment Plan for the first time since 2020.
The FY2023 Capital Investment Plan (CIP) was presented to the City Council and published in March 2023. The Highland Ave Redesign Project was included in the CIP, with design services proposed for funding in FY2026 (between July 2025 and July 2026) and construction services proposed for funding in FY2027 (between July 2026 and July 2027). This is the current funding plan and timeline for the Highland Avenue Redesign Project.
The graphic below summarizes the progress of the Highland Ave Redesign Project to date:
Although Highland Ave is currently programmed for FY2026 and FY2027 in the CIP, this plan is updated annually to account for dynamic financial, construction, and supply chain conditions and to ensure the City can be responsive to changing community priorities and needs. The next update will take place during the fall of 2023. As the CIP is updated, the City is committed to reviewing opportunities to move Highland Avenue design forward in the five-year spending plan. The specifics of such a change will be determined as a part of the annual CIP update and will be presented to the public this fall. The City’s recent upgrade to a AAA bond rating is expected to have a positive effect on project costs and timelines.
The City will restart community engagement activities for the Highland Ave Redesign Project following the approval of funds for design services. Community members are encouraged to continue to share transportation safety concerns on Highland Ave to City staff.
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