Scranton's Mulberry Street Improvement Project Plan Submitted to City Council

07/15/09
A project announced in 2007 by the City of Scranton, Scranton City Council and The University of Scranton to beautify and improve safety for the Mulberry Street corridor is moving forward having grown in scope.
 
The University of Scranton’s investment has grown through a plan developed by the combined efforts of Ayers Saint Gross, a nationally respected architectural firm in Baltimore, Md., and Burkavage Design Associates, a local architectural firm. Initially estimated at just more than $1 million, the Mulberry Street Improvement Project is now a multi-million dollar project that will be taken on in phases over the coming years.

“The University of Scranton engaged architects Ayers Saint Gross in the project because of their extensive experience in helping urban campuses blend with their surroundings in mutually beneficial ways,” said University of Scranton President Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J. “The vision they have put forth will dramatically enhance Mulberry Street as a vital gateway to the city and to our campus.”

The project will encourage foot traffic and improve pedestrian safety by creating wider walking paths along Mulberry Street. It incorporates blue stone sidewalks, scored concrete crosswalks, cobblestone lined tree lawns, benches and vintage light fixtures. Landscaping will screen parking lots and the street will be enhanced by intermittent, low, limestone seating walls. Elements of the design will provide a consistent appearance stretching from Jefferson Avenue to North Webster Avenue.

The University of Scranton submitted the plans for all phases of the Mulberry Street Improvement Project to City Council for review. If approved, the university will continue to move forward with the first phase of the project, which concentrates on Mulberry Street between Jefferson and Madison avenues. Phase one includes a large limestone, wrought iron and cast stone sign on the northeast corner of Jefferson Avenue and Mulberry Street that welcomes passers by to The University of Scranton campus and the historic Hill Section of Scranton. Immediately in front of the sign is an enlarged pedestrian crosswalk area. Work on the sign, which does not require approval from the City, is well underway. Phase one should be completed in the fall of 2009.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has favorably reviewed the entire Mulberry Street Improvement Plan based on traffic projections for the next ten years. The plan requires several no parking zones to comply with PennDOT requirements for sightlines and turning lanes at key intersections and to allow for tree planting and wider sidewalks. Subsequent phases of the plan allows for several parking spaces to be preserved by making Hitchcock, Costello and Mahon courts right turn only onto Mulberry Street, pending Council approval.

In a related move, The University of Scranton has donated a portion of a corner lot property it owns at 616 Mulberry Street to the City to allow for the widening the right turn lane on the southwest corner of Jefferson Avenue and Mulberry Street. The university will continue to maintain the remaining portion of the landscaped property.
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