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Concerns grow over construction impact on pedestrian safety in Scott’s Addition

RICHMOND, Va. -- Turning to take a quick look behind, a group of Richmond pedestrians stepped into a lane of traffic on West Broad Street in Scott's Addition Thursday night.

A large construction project blocked off nearly the entire sidewalk near Broad Street and Summit Avenue recently and some pedestrians chose to risk the street, even after a pedestrian was hit and killed by a car in the area Tuesday morning.

“That’s dangerous because you're too close and somebody just got hit not too long ago,” Wanda Jones said.

While the circumstances surrounding the crash remain under investigation, people who live, work, and play in Scott's Addition said they were concerned about the impact construction projects here are having on pedestrian safety.

“Last week I walked around there because it was out so far, and I was scared I was gonna get tapped by a vehicle or something,” Jones said.

If you take a quick drive around Scott's Addition you will find construction zones blocking sidewalks all over the neighborhood. You'll also find them elsewhere in the city, like right across from City Hall.

“Growth is a good thing. When it endangers our residents that's a bad thing. That’s what we want to work to avoid,” Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said.

Stoney said his administration recognizes the need for some changes related to construction zones and pedestrian safety.

“At the end of the day, the sidewalks belong to the residents of the city, and we are going to work on policies to allow residents to safely traverse through our city,” Stoney said.

Since we interviewed the Mayor Thursday night, workers moved the construction zone on West Broad Street back to open up more of the sidewalk.

“I am very happy to see that they moved it because I did not want to walk through that alley today,” Jones said.

In fact, Richmond Councilwoman Kim Gray said City Council passed a resolution last year urging the city's Chief Administrative Officer to implement regulations requiring temporary sidewalks whenever a sidewalk is closed due to construction and to establish a new permit fee structure for work in sidewalks.

To that point, we found out from the city that since that resolution, they revised right of way fees to encourage contractors to return use of public sidewalks back to the public.

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