Motorists now have another option for getting from Pioneer Avenue to the Sterling Highway, and city representatives are pretty excited about it.
A handful of them met Tuesday afternoon outside of Save-U-More for a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the Greatland Street extension. Approved in June 2017, the 500-linear-foot extension of the road from its dead end near the grocery store to an intersection with Pioneer Avenue was completed this summer by Clark Management.
It includes sidewalks and bike paths going in both directions, and will also include LED lighting. The project was paid for by Homer Accelerated Roads and Trails Funds.
There is a piece of land now cleared across the street from Save-U-More for employee parking, which assistant store manager Brian Nahim said will free up space in the existing lot. City regulations prohibit parking on Greatland Street — or any street not signed for parking. With a bike lane next to the curb, anyone parking on the street would be blocking the bike lane and endangering bicyclists.
Nahim had a large hand in bringing the road expansion project to fruition. He was the one who brought complaints about traffic congestion and other issues to Homer City Council member Shelly Erickson, who in turn got the ball rolling at the city level.
“In June of 2017 I introduced an ordinance for this project,” she said at the ribbon cutting Tuesday. “People were having problems making left hand turns down on the (Homer) Bypass. There (were) a number of near misses.”
Erickson said that because Main Street, another link between Pioneer avenue and the highway, was state owned, it was difficult for the city to do anything about bike and pedestrian paths or widening the road. She said they realized these things could be accomplished on Greatland Street.
“We have beautiful striping for our bicycles going both ways, which is wonderful,” Erickson said. “What I’m really excited about is this road was built with HART funds, and we have actually come in under budget.”
Nahim, going on nine years as assistant manager, said seeing the road extension completed was “awesome.”
“I’ve been trying to get this road since probably 2011 or 2012,” he said. “… I went to numerous people and finally I went to (Rep.) Paul Seaton, and he said, ‘well you should go talk to Shelly,’ before she got elected. So then, sure enough I went and talked to her, she got elected, and she called me within about a week and was going to propose the idea.”