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Paine College seeks to close part of Druid Park Avenue for student safety

Thursday, April 19, 2012 7:59 PM
Last updated Friday, April 20, 2012 1:33 AM
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A busy section of road though Paine College will be closed to vehicle traffic, if school officials get their way.

Paine College wants to close the well-traveled section of Druid Park Avenue that goes through its campus.  ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFF
ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFF
Paine College wants to close the well-traveled section of Druid Park Avenue that goes through its campus.

The college is asking the Augusta Commission to close a 0.2-mile stretch of Druid Park Avenue from Central Avenue to Laney Walker Boulevard.

The request is primarily for student safety, Paine Vice President of Institutional Development Brandon Brown said.

Rather than slow as they approach the crosswalk on Druid Park near the Laney Walker intersection, “a lot of vehicles accelerate at high speeds” as the road turns from two lanes to four.

“We’ve had students in the past hit,” he said.

The situation evokes a recent community debate about closing a busy nearby section of Laney-Walker that passes through Georgia Health Sciences University.

When residents east of the medical college complained, GHSU announced last week plans to instead reconfigure the road from four lanes to two.

City traffic engineer Steve Cassell estimated the section of Druid Park through Paine carries as many as 8,000 vehicles daily, but said he was still assembling data.

He’ll present a report to Augusta’s engineering services committee Monday.

Students frequently cross Druid Park as Paine has well-used facilities on either side of the road, and as construction of the college’s new HEAL Complex nears completion, “we only see that as continuing,” Brown said.

Paine’s 2009 campus master plan noted that the “ring roads” of Laney-Walker Boulevard, Central Avenue and Druid Park, while making the campus highly accessible, actually restrict unimpeded pedestrian traffic.

It also called Druid Park “a significant hindrance to the development of a pedestrian campus.”

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Bouganvillea
0
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Bouganvillea 04/19/12 - 09:47 pm
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Hmm.. I wonder if the same
Unpublished

Hmm.. I wonder if the same people who got all up in arms about GHSU wanting to close Laney-Walker through it's campus will try to block this too? I'm thinking you won't hear a word. But this does make sense.. as does closing Laney-walker thru the GHSU campus

GrandmaCarolyn
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GrandmaCarolyn 04/19/12 - 11:00 pm
3
3
Many drivers use that route

Many drivers use that route daily, wouldn't it make better sense to build a cross over walk???

showboat
336
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showboat 04/19/12 - 11:21 pm
0
0
Why would you want to close a
Unpublished

Why would you want to close a road for 1200 students, just want to get on the band wagon with az.LOL

WHY CLOSE A ROAD FOR 1200 STUDENTS, JUST WANT TO GET ON THE BAND WAGON WITH AZ.

allhans
23773
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allhans 04/19/12 - 11:41 pm
4
1
I use it as a shortcut but I

I use it as a shortcut but I can easily continue on down Central to 15th St. OR turn off Central Ave before I reach Druid Park, like on Baker Ave.

Common.sense
465
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Common.sense 04/20/12 - 12:20 am
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I doubt the students would

I doubt the students would use an elevated walkway to cross if one was built. They aren't children anymore, they should know how to cross a road.

oldredneckman96
5095
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oldredneckman96 04/20/12 - 01:20 am
2
2
Yep, I think I will close a
Unpublished

Yep, I think I will close a few streets around my house. What has a State law about closing a public road got to do with anything? Augusta Chronicle, are you scared to research this and report the facts?

Riverman1
84920
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Riverman1 04/20/12 - 03:51 am
5
3
Closing Laney Walker

Closing Laney Walker completely is a good idea as this is, too.

a different drum
26
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a different drum 04/20/12 - 05:48 am
7
5
Close the school leave the

Close the school leave the road open.

Bizkit
32151
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Bizkit 04/20/12 - 07:23 am
2
2
GHS and Paine prez's are good

GHS and Paine prez's are good buds. Makes you wonder what they are plotting??At least GHS is a public school that feeds the community, Paine is a private school so why would the state accomodate a private business. A Walk-way like in Macon would be more logical.

catfish20
272
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catfish20 04/20/12 - 07:09 am
2
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Close the section of Laney

Close the section of Laney Walker passing thru MCG and the section of Druid Park passing thru Paine College. I travel the area daily and certainly see the need for student safety.

Bizkit
32151
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Bizkit 04/20/12 - 07:33 am
1
1
Catfish with that logic we

Catfish with that logic we would have to close every road surrounding every school for safety issues. The area is well marked and both driver and pedestrians have been at fault in accidents. I say a crosswalk-underground or above.

Riverman1
84920
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Riverman1 04/20/12 - 08:50 am
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Bizkit, Paine may be private,

Bizkit, Paine may be private, but the county paid for their Heal Complex. It's hard to tell what's public and what's private these days.

iLove
626
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iLove 04/20/12 - 09:11 am
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The "medical districe" is
Unpublished

The "medical districe" is very crowded. Is closing the roads around this district the answer?

Are there other options, other than closing the roads? Or is this just the easiest and cheapest way out...well cheap for the colleges...more of a burden on the citizens.

Maybe we should close ALL roads where people have to cross them...like the bottom end of Washington Road during Masters week.

And what about Laney Walker when church folks from Tabernacle have to cross on Sundays, Wednesdays, Friday's and some Saturdays...The church pays for a deputy to halt traffic...why not the colleges?

Why not a stop light?
Why not a raised pedestrian walk-way?

Where is the District 1 commissioner.....o wait....

Augusta resident
1368
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Augusta resident 04/20/12 - 09:58 am
1
1
If you can close your road, I

If you can close your road, I can close mine, you know equal rights and all......oh wait, never mind, I like it when fire trucks and ambulances can drive on my road.

PghSteelersFan
140
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PghSteelersFan 04/20/12 - 10:04 am
1
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There was a ' traffic plan'

There was a ' traffic plan' many many years ago before Augusta merged with Richmond County to make Central Ave four lane to 15th St and then close Druid Park from Central to Laney/Walker. At the same time Laney/Walker was to be closed from 15th St down thru the MCG campus. If memory serves, Wrightsboro Rd was to be made 4 lane from 15th St to Highland Ave at the same time. All of this was to keep traffic moving but allow the schools to have 'pedestrian' space. Since the plan was never implemented, I guess it is laying around in a basement somewhere gathering dust. Someone must have decided the 'cost' was too much. In view of construction costs In today's dollars, that plan would have been a bargain.
For those who suggest a 'flyover' cross walk. It is a fact that people don't always use them. They find it easier just to run across the street.
As for a 'stop light' there is one at Druid Park and Laney Walker. The City traffic engineer has to follow 'guidelines' about how many signal lights can be on a road, what it does to traffic flow, and how close one can be to the other. Perhaps the 'space' doesn't permit a second one. The article does say that he is 'still assembling data'.
All this should be interesting to see how it plays out.

my.voice
4865
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my.voice 04/20/12 - 11:13 am
1
2
Where is the public outcry?

Where is the public outcry? Aren't we doing something to offend one of the races? Anyone? Oh....wait, sorry, wrong number...

countyman
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countyman 04/20/12 - 11:36 am
0
2
The crime rate is lower in

The crime rate is lower in Augusta compared to the majority of it's peers(Durham, Columbia, Knoxville, Jackson, Greensboro, Charleston, Baton Rogue, Greenville, Winston Salem, etc)

Some people love to bit the hands that feeds them, but don't really know the true consequences... Suburban Detroit lost population, because the city of Detroit was really hit hard by the recession.. While their economy is starting to turn around, the suburbs were dealt severe blows.. If 'Augusta' was really hit hard like Detroit then Columbia County would be one of the most effected.. The last time I checked Davidson(RC school) is the best in the entire state of Georgia...

My voice... Druid Park doesn't run through a historic neighborhood, and the traffic on Laney Walker is worse .. I still don't see Druid Park being close anyway..

Laney Walker and Druid Park are both important roads, and won't be close.. Georgia Tech and Georgia State are much bigger schools, and seem to do fine in downtown Atlanta.. The best option is lowering the speed limit, closing down some of the lanes, and increasing bicycle/pedestrian activity. The splost package included $2.5 million for Paine, but the entire cost of the HEAL is $14 million.. I'm glad to see Paine College keeping up with the larger schools.. They're building new dorms on Central Avenue, the first to bring up the possibility of football, and want in on the riverfront campus..

kiwiinamerica
946
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kiwiinamerica 04/20/12 - 11:45 am
0
0
Close Central Ave and Monte
Unpublished

Close Central Ave and Monte Sano Avenue around Sheehan's bar.

If you think crossing the road outside a college is dangerous, try it after a few beers when you're half-sozzled.

Boudreaux
117
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Boudreaux 04/20/12 - 01:17 pm
2
1
Detroit went downhill after

Detroit went downhill after the riots, all the civilized people left. The people left ran it in the ground and continue too.Remind you of anywhere else?

countyman
20236
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countyman 04/20/12 - 01:39 pm
1
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Raleigh begin to boom after

Raleigh begin to boom after attracting multiple high paying jobs(alot of them medical related), and the universities (Duke/NC) kept expanding... Any similarity to another southeastern city??

Riverman1
84920
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Riverman1 04/20/12 - 05:39 pm
1
0
Haven't I been saying forever

Haven't I been saying forever the way to almost immediately get Augusta going was with expansion of ASU and GHSU over the city area? It brings foot traffic, residents, jobs, spin-off businesses, law enforcement and a vivacity to the city. That's why we should facilitate the growth of these institutions with measures that enhance campuses by closing streets.

Sweet son
10553
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Sweet son 04/20/12 - 05:03 pm
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Hey Brandon, check with Azziz

Hey Brandon, check with Azziz for help. Maybe not, he didn't get his street closed yet!

Riverman1
84920
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Riverman1 04/20/12 - 05:38 pm
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C6murphy, you mean Countyman,

C6murphy, you mean Countyman, I hope...ha.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 04/20/12 - 05:46 pm
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C6murphy, your post is down,

C6murphy, your post is down, but let me address it anyway. I am a realist about many things with Augusta, but you have to play with the hand dealt you. You can either give up, just ignore the reality as someone does or look for ways to make it better and play on overlooked strengths. I'm positive, an optimist, drawing to inside straights, doubling down, not believing danger touches me and appreciative of Southern culture that makes everyone feel welcome with a glass of sweet tea. Nothing like a Southern lady giving you a glass of tea and her fingers barely touching yours as she hands you the ice filled glass.

c6murphy
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c6murphy 04/20/12 - 08:10 pm
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I guess it was taken down

I guess it was taken down because it had too much truth to it.

c6murphy
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c6murphy 04/20/12 - 08:30 pm
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River man, I grew up in

River man, I grew up in Augusta, I was proud of my hometown but I was gone for 30 years. When I returned I was amazed at what I saw. Millions for a river walk that is inhabited by God only knows, the south side that was once growing and prosperous all by imploded. Arguments centered on race instead of how to grow the town. A ballpark wedged between a cemetery, canal and housing project. Any improvement seemed half hearted at best. Lexington, Ky built their ball park in the seeder part of town, but made it a gate way, it's Appleby Park, it has paved parking and a game there is a joy. Attendance is at the top of the league and it's fun to go to a Legends game. But Augusta, heck they don't even have parking at the court house! Lexington metro is 100k smaller than Augusta but Bluegrass Field has 8 airlines and you can fly direct to 15 cities, yet it is a mere 70 miles from either Cincy International and Louisville. When you fly into Lexington you fly over Keeneland, a premier horse track. Fly into Augusta and you fly over a waste water treatment plant. I can't help but wonder how much money has been sucked out of Augusta "Regional" for Daniel Field for the benefit of a few. So maybe I was hard on the town, but it needs to wake up. Look at the commissioners, they act, dress and look like a bunch of uneducated good ole boys to me. Not the type I would want representing me. I wanted to look for a home in Richmond County, but frankly there are very few places that do not have problems. So I moved to Columbia County. I admit I also looked across the river but thought I would at least be true to my Georgia roots. I have watched in amazement as MCG is slowly being moved to Athens. Then you get a prima domma president that wants to build the school. I say let him, let him take all the credit but at least we will still have it. Let him take half the town for his monument because he is building Augusta, something no one else is willing to do. So Riverman and Countyman accept my apologies, I am just angry at what has happened to my hometown. Hope this stays up long enough for you to read it

SCV Sam
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SCV Sam 04/20/12 - 10:05 pm
1
0
Same old sad story of the
Unpublished

Same old sad story of the special interest crowd demanding special privileges. Seems to have gotten louder and worse since the current imposter has occupied the White House.

You guessed it...Frank Stallone
83
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You guessed it...Frank Stallone 04/21/12 - 12:31 am
0
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Countyman says: "Raleigh

Countyman says: "Raleigh begin to boom after attracting multiple high paying jobs(alot of them medical related), and the universities (Duke/NC) kept expanding... Any similarity to another southeastern city??"

You just tried to compare Duke/UNC/NC State to Augusta State/GHSU/Paine. Delusion defined. Plus, the Research Triangle doesn't just apply to the medical industry. It means research in just about every industry important to the human race. Augusta will never be Raleigh with it's poisonous political and racial climate much less the lack of MULTIPLE, GLOBALLY RELEVANT educational and research institutions that the triangle offers.

Riverman1
84920
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Riverman1 04/21/12 - 08:49 am
0
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I've noted before crime

I've noted before crime statistics in consolidated city-counties are deceiving. Most of the county population is located in areas outside the old city limits. A good portion of the people live in suburban and rural areas which historically have lower crime rates. Areas that were unincorporated before the city-county consolidation generally have significantly lower crime rates although their aggregate population is higher than the old pre-consolidation city limits. Thus, crime figures for the consolidated city average out to a lower rate than most traditional cities.

Riverman1
84920
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Riverman1 04/21/12 - 03:27 pm
0
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C6Murphy, you questioned

C6Murphy, you questioned before if anyone had lived away from Augusta. That’s actually a good question and I did as you indicate you did. I was in the Army as I suspect you were.

I actually grew up in Charleston while my grandparents had our passed down farm (for hundreds of years) in Aiken County so I was there often and growing up, along with the cotton and corn, with an understanding of Aiken and Augusta .

My uncle and aunt who last owned the Aiken farm before leaving it to me died in a hospital in Augusta as many from Aiken used to do when the Aiken Hospital was that tiny brick building.

I tried for two big paragraphs to list the places I lived, but it got to be too lengthy and confusing. Plus there is the fact most military families usually live in more than one place in a new town as they await on post housing or a move to a better area. I managed to keep most of my assignments in my beloved South, but I lived with the Yankees three times, CA, PA and MD. I also lived with foreigners for 4 years in 3 different countries.

So I do understand the value of your suggestion we compare to other communities. It's a valid point.

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