After the Bike/Ped Master Plan meeting on Monday, July 10, members of BikeAthens, Complete Streets Athens and Georgia Bikes met with Transportation and Public Works Director Drew Raessler to discuss issues related to Chase Street. The following is a summary of that conversation:
Traffic backing up on the Loop 10 exit at Chase Street is presenting serious safety issues that must be addressed. The issues are exacerbated by a combination of short exit ramps from the Loop, and short left turn lanes to enter the Loop. Since there is a traffic signal only at the northernmost Loop 10 entrance/exit, the problem cannot be resolved through adjusting the signal timing.
TPW is well aware that traffic-calming measures taken to date have been beneficial for the residential portion of Chase immediately south of the railroad overpass. Those changes should remain in place.
The midblock crosswalk scheduled for the front of Chase Street School will be installed as planned.
TPW is recommending to the Mayor and Commission that Chase Street from Oneta Street to Newton Bridge be restriped temporarily as it was before repaving. There will be opportunities for public input on this proposal at the M&C Agenda Setting session (6 p.m. July 18 at City Hall) and voting meeting (6 p.m. Aug. 1 at City Hall) before implementation of this plan.
In addition, TPW will hold a public forum 6-8 p.m. on July 26 in the Planning Department Auditorium to discuss the short- and medium-term plans for Chase Street and to take public comment.
Given that Chase Street serves as a major transit corridor, bisects the Boulevard neighborhood and provides access to a school that plays a major role in that neighborhood—along with with the economic development opportunities afforded by the impending redevelopment of the Southern Mill property—we welcome the opportunity to take another look, and a more nuanced approach, to reconfiguring Chase Street.
We are as weary of “further study” as anyone, but believe this is one case where we need to take a closer look at how to achieve what’s best for our community over the long term. We welcome the opportunity to work with TPW and our elected officials to reexamine Chase Street and urge you to do the same.
BikeAthens, Complete Streets Athens and Georgia Bikes
P.S. it’s worth noting that at our Bike/Ped Master Plan meeting we learned that at least one measure to be incorporated into street analysis and recommendations for the county will be Level of Comfort for bikers and walkers (Read more here).