There are new crosswalks under construction on Milledge Avenue. Except they’re more than crosswalks — they include pedestrian islands and make it easier and safer for UGA students, Clarke Central students and others to cross Milledge Avenue.
This is real progress.
And it’s not the only positive change we’ve seen in Athens in the past year since Complete Streets Athens rebranded, turning our focus to streets across the entire county.
Our efforts related to Prince Avenue caused Commissioner Andy Herod to ask for a county-wide analysis of bike/ped crashes. That analysis led to “the list” and the allocation during fiscal year 2016 of $265,000 for bike/ped safety improvements.
- Lumpkin Street – pedestrian island and Rapid Flashing Beacons (RFB’s) near Cedar Street (the top of the hill at O-house), and green paint designation of the bike lane approaching the Tate Center.
- Athens’ first pedestrian scramble – traffic stops in all directions for multi-directional pedestrian access – at the intersection of Baxter and Lumpkin.
- A road diet on Dougherty between North Avenue and Pulaski Street with upgraded crosswalks, including multiple RFB’s at Jackson and Hull streets.
- Currently underway – crosswalks with pedestrian islands at multiple UGA bus stops on Milledge (two of which will serve Clarke Central as well).
CSA also partnered with Chase St. Elementary PTO and BikeAthens to lobby for bike/ped safety improvements as part of Chase Street’s repaving this fall. And ACC has allocated another $144,000 for FY ’17 for upgrades on Prince Avenue for the Grady and Pope Street midblock crossings as part of improvements throughout ACC.
Combined with a revised sidewalk policy, the awarding of contracts for the Winterville phase of the Firefly Trail, continued expansion of the Oconee River Greenway, potential funding through T-SPLOST and a Bike Ped Master Plan to tie it all together, the city is finally catching up to where it left off more than a decade ago.
Behind the scenes, we’re seeing changes too. Two of our steering committee members have been appointed by Mayor Denson to the newly formed Bike/Ped Master Plan committee, where we had a significant role in drafting the request for proposals for hiring a consultant. Our primary goals were to include improved public participation and reference best practices as part of the planning process—and we achieved that.
We now look forward to creating a robust plan for interconnected bike/ped infrastructure in ACC. We also have at least one steering committee member nominated to the nascent T-SPLOST citizen’s advisory committee, and we look forward to having input on the project list put out for a vote in November 2017!
And you, our supporters, know these changes are happening because our message makes sense—that a vibrant, safe, comfortable transportation network benefits all people, our economy and the future of Athens-Clarke County. Thanks for following our efforts—we are reaching over 1,000 people regularly through Facebook and our mailing list, and we have reached nearly 4,000 on certain posts. Thanks for keeping up and sharing!
With all this catch-up, the next step is to ensure that funding for bike/ped infrastructure is included in the annual budget in the future. We appreciate you and our ACC elected officials and staff listening and working together to make a better Athens for everyone. We’re looking forward to more successes in Athens!