A countywide plan to improve the safety of pedestrians and cyclists is entering its final stages.
The Augusta Regional Transportation Study has been about a year in the making so far and draws from the suggestions of residents on a steering committee and a Greenville, S.C.-based consultant group, Alta Planning + Design.
The purpose is to pinpoint areas that are dangerous for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists and correct them by building new infrastructure such as bike lanes and sidewalks. Marya Moultrie, the study project manager, said another suggestion was improving lighting on city streets because several bicycle wrecks last year occurred at night.
“It’s important to go through the planning aspects of it, but also prioritize what people want to see,” said Moultrie.
The consulting group will provide its final recommendations to Augusta this week, with a public review anticipated in March. Some of the items on the consultant’s list include building not just standard bike lanes, but buffered bicycle lanes with extra space in high-traffic areas. There are also plans to close the gaps in Richmond County’s sidewalk network.
Ultimately, the goal of the plan is to implement policies that will improve future cycling and pedestrian safety. There were at least 30 bicycle-vehicle accidents last year in Augusta. One man, Dan Dickinson, an Eisenhower Army Medical Center doctor, was killed Aug. 1 commuting to work on Belair Road.
“We’re not just planning for the existing environment, but making useful steps for a long-term commitment,” said Jean Crow Crowther, a planner with Alta Planning.