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Store collects signatures against Berckmans Road project

Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012 2:19 PM
Last updated 6:51 PM
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A Washington Road music store is collecting signatures to petition against the proposed rerouting and widening of Berckmans Road.

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Jay's Music Center, 2702 Washington Road, began collecting names two and a half weeks ago to stop the proposed rerouting and widening of Berckmans Road. More than 300 people have signed the petition at the store.  JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
Jay's Music Center, 2702 Washington Road, began collecting names two and a half weeks ago to stop the proposed rerouting and widening of Berckmans Road. More than 300 people have signed the petition at the store.

Jay’s Music Center, at the corner of Berckmans and Wash­ing­ton roads, began collecting names 2½ weeks ago to stop the project, which is funded by the 1 percent regional sales tax for transportation projects.

The tax, to be collected beginning in January, allocates $16.7 million for widening Berckmans Road and $3.7 million to replace a bridge on the road over Rae’s Creek.

“Berckmans Road is not broken,” said Jay’s Music Center owner Doug Frohman. “This $16 million project is basically a waste of taxpayer money.”

Large signs outside the store read “Save Berckmans Road.” More than 300 people have signed the petition in the store, Frohman said.

The northern section of Berckmans Road, which borders Augusta National Golf Club, will be redirected to align with Alexander Drive, less than a half-mile from where it now intersects Washington Road at National Hills shopping center.

Just south of Heath Drive, the road would turn west, cutting through Augusta National’s parking lots. It would have two traffic lanes with a center turn lane.

According to the law that created the transportation tax, all projects on a final approved list must have construction started by 2023.

Mike Dover, the Geor­gia De­part­ment of Trans­por­ta­tion’s administrator for the tax, said such a petition would likely not halt a project. The allocated funds must be used according to the law, he said.

“I don’t want to say that would kill the project,” Dover said. “Our intent is to meet the scope (of the project) that was approved in the final investment list.”

Every project goes through a public comment stage to help mitigate design problems and residents’ concerns, he said.

Two public meetings were held in June and September about Berckmans Road. The final design was narrowed down from five concepts and changed to two lanes instead of four. The design includes a short access road from Washing­ton Road to the Jay’s Music Center parking lot.

Frohman said the redesign benefits Augusta Nation­al and hurts drivers who travel from west Augusta and the Summerville neighborhood toward his store and the National Hills shopping center. The store, in business since 1945 and at its current location since 1992, will lose customers, he said.

Frohman said he plans to start a walking campaign in nearby shopping centers and neighborhoods to collect more signatures before presenting them to the Augusta Commission.

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bdouglas
4518
Points
bdouglas 10/16/12 - 02:35 pm
4
6
I don't see why it would be

I don't see why it would be much more of a hassle to get to Jay's the other way than it is any other way currently available. The part about him losing business because of it is baloney. Most of their income appears to be renting sound equipment because the prices on equipment are marked up so high as to appear you're getting a great deal when they knock some off. Taylor Guitars are the only real deals I've found in there. I think it has more to do with the fact that they sell the space all over their building for advertising during Masters week and feel like they won't be able to get as much for it without the road passing next to it.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 10/16/12 - 02:39 pm
9
4
Where do I sign up?

Anyone who believes this is anything other than corporate welfare for the Big Green Monster is a fool.

The way business works in Augusta...

The National gives Masters badges to commissioners.

The commissioners get down on bended knee to thank their Masters.

The commissioners then do the bidding of the National.

kiwiinamerica
924
Points
kiwiinamerica 10/16/12 - 03:18 pm
1
0
He's quite right. There are
Unpublished

He's quite right. There are no traffic issues on Berckmans Road, save during one week of the year, in April. There is no congestion, visibility is good and traffic flows smoothly. It isn't at all clear to me why it needs to be "realigned".

(Yeah, I do know the real reason).

TrulyWorried
12305
Points
TrulyWorried 10/16/12 - 03:23 pm
7
1
Berckmans Road

I can't see where there is so much traffic that half of the area around Washington Road has to be turned upside down. I travel Berckmans Road at various time and don't find it that difficult to maneuver - during school hours, maybe, but then you will find that all over the place.
Use the money where it can be much more useful, I am sure it was not strictly alloted for Berckmans Road - was it?
You will certainly circumvent the green space aka one week a year parking area for the Masters!
Keep some of the roads the way they are - not all of them have to be four lane speedways - fix the existing old roads - the ones that tear up our cars day in and day out. Use some common sense sometimes!!

Filterthmsn
10
Points
Filterthmsn 10/16/12 - 04:13 pm
2
12
What is unclear?

What exactly is unlclear to some in this town, including those posting comments on this story, about the role of the Augusta National in this community? Are you mad that you can't play golf there, or that someone couldn't find you tickets last year? There has to be something that causes you to ignore the simplest fact that without this course and that horrible ONE WEEK A YEAR golf tournament, half the businesses on Washington Road would turn over faster than their leases could be signed. Rather than focus on a petition that will accomplish nothing, Jays music might want to focus on a poll of it's customer's to determine how many are actually walk ins captivated by the store front. They are a specialty business that stands to lose little business if any. It must be the evil golf course that would argue convenient access to Alexander and Riverwatch over the entrance to the Fresh Market!

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 10/16/12 - 04:25 pm
11
0
Every time the Masters flex

Every time the Masters flex their muscle, the Kool-Aid drinkers sing the praises of their Masters.

No one is arguing that pennies don't fall from the Masters' pockets, but the laundry list of welfare projects to serve the Masters just continues to get longer and longer.

The Masters pull the strings of the sheriff's office to crack down on law-abiding citizens.

The Masters pull the strings of Planning and Zoning to cancel economic development projects.

And now it's $20.4 MILLION for a half mile stretch of road.

Cestlavie
134
Points
Cestlavie 10/16/12 - 06:00 pm
3
1
The only reason they will

The only reason they will lose customers is because of the way they run their business. I agree that they want to keep the money they make from allowing others to use their property during the Masters.

Filterthmsn
10
Points
Filterthmsn 10/16/12 - 06:37 pm
4
1
I got it

So,

Anyone who actually sees the purpose behind this bank breaking mission (sarcasm) to improve access to and expand upon recent projects, is:

A kool aid drinking servant of the MIGHTY ONE PERCENT (aka "the man"),

Completely unaware that the Sheriff's office has joined various other local boards and commissions who are perpetually bowing to "the man" begging for their lives in exchange for killing off otherwise unnamed and worthwhile projects,

Is blind to the fact that millions to business owners are mere pennies in the scheme of things,

And up until now, was completely unaware that the Augusta National, sorry, the Masters?, are simply exercising dominion over a city they intend to drain dry of all it's resources through an exhaustive laundry list of "welfare projects" until they have successfully stretched out their collective hand and squashed us all like bugs,

All of this accomplished covertly through projects like the DIVERSION OF BERKMANS ROAD!!!

MAN, THE EFFECT OF MY KOOL AID PALES IN COMPARISON TO YOURS!!!

Fiat_Lux
14853
Points
Fiat_Lux 10/16/12 - 07:07 pm
6
2
I've said it before

but I'll say it again. This is nothing more than a way to expand the buffer zone around the Augusta National, this time paid for by the taxpayers.

I believe if it were possible to have Washington Road closed down and all traffic re-routed to Riverwatch Parkway, that too would happen.

The clowns who decided to impose this upon us might as well have just tossed $16 million into the john and flushed, repeatedly, for all the good it will do for the people who are paying for it. Somehow, this doesn't resemble the democratic process to me.

It's almost as if the Board of Regents are running this little snafu as well. Atlanta must really hate Augusta, because the people who make decisions from there look like they're trying to stick it to us every way possible.

slowpitch
119
Points
slowpitch 10/16/12 - 07:35 pm
4
1
@Insider @Fiat, it's not $20M anymore

A) Augusta owes a great debt to the Augusta National. I'm not a member, I've never golfed there, I've only been on the course once thanks to the generosity of a neighbor who shared a ticket. But the facts are the facts. The Masters is a 13th month for CSRA retailers and service industry. The economic impact, not to mention international prestige, is immense. I imagine some people in Lynchburg TN complain that Jack Daniels gets special favors, but guess what, most people don't know anything about Lynchburg past Jack Daniels.
The National doesn't run the city, but when the city makes decisions about planning and zoning, it's only logical to centrally consider the biggest tourism and economic draws to the city.

B) Between the June and Sept. meetings, they scaled back the road improvements. $12M is nothing to sneeze at, but they listened to the public input from the first meeting and are now planning a 3 lane vs. 4-5 lane road. The bridge improvement which we are told has to be done whether the road is realigned or not, represents $4M of the cost. And the project is far longer than a half mile, it would widen Berckmans from Wash all the way to Wheeler, change traffic lights on Washington, and add roundabouts. Lots of misinformation in the comments.

I don't work for the city, I don't work for the ANGC, I voted against TSPLOST; I'm critical of other processes of local gov't, but straightening the roads between Riverwatch and Costco to Summerville and Surrey Center seems legitimate.

burninater
8937
Points
burninater 10/17/12 - 12:54 am
4
1
Between this and the TEE

Between this and the TEE Center, I'm thinking that Augusta would save itself a lot of hassle and expense if it would just bypass this whole bureaucratic soft-shoe shuffle and simply deliver local tax dollars directly to the few private beneficiaries of its public largesse. Just think how much cheaper a shiny little bow would be when gifting all of this public money to private interests.

Or better yet, do it into the wind so the rest of us can feel a little of it trickling back our way ...

Little Lamb
43979
Points
Little Lamb 10/17/12 - 07:56 am
2
2
Right turn, Left turn

I think the Frohmans are making too much out of nothing. They think their customers are too stupid or too lazy to figure out how to get to the music store after Berckmans Rd. is cut in two.

Okay, let's pretend I am at Grooo and want to pick up a pair of drumsticks after class. I pull out of the parking lot onto Arsenal Ave. and head north. There's no left turn onto Walton Way, so I turn right. Then I turn left onto Fleming St. and turn left again onto Henry Street, stop at the four-way stop at Monte-Sano, and proceed ahead. I turn right at the light at Highland and continue north. Unexplicably, the road name changes to Berckmans at the next light and I continue. I cruise through the nifty roundabout at Ingleside Dr. then comes the gentle curve to the left as the new section of the road takes me northwest. Again, unexplicably, the road name changes from Berckmans to Stanley Dr. and I continue to the light at Washington Rd. I sit at the red light between T.G.I. Friday and Walgreens. I ponder on the thought that if I had some scrap gold I could sell it at Friedmans to pay for my drumsticks but, alas, no. When the light changes I turn right, and and in a few hundred feet I arrive at Jay's Music. What is so hard about that?

obkad
211
Points
obkad 10/17/12 - 08:06 am
3
1
too Bad

The Frohmans had the opportunity to cash in several years ago when the National came calling only to hold out for more cash.. hum.....Now the proposed new expansion will land lock them from the main drag and they are complaining.. TOO BAD you should have taken the money when you had the chance, so you have no one to blame but yourselves. Once the National gets what they want Jay will eventually close down or sell at a considerable loss of revenue...you get what you wait for.......As far as all the comments about the National, they get what they want, stop complaining when you consider what they bring in revenue every year....You have the Haves, the wanna Haves, and the Have not's,,, we are the Have not's and we have to live with it,, it's the way things are.....

F4therTime
4656
Points
F4therTime 10/17/12 - 10:45 am
4
1
Said it before..
Unpublished

The Augusta National will never be happy until they are secluded from us common people. They have huge influence because they give the City money and free tickets (which should be disallowed because of the conflict of interest it can cause). A public road should never be rerouted to please 1 business no matter how much they give to charity or put into the economy. I promise you if they are told no they aren't gonna up and move the course. Why should we the citizens that live here and drive these roads daily have to sacrifice for a business that will only use the road one week a year?

Little Lamb
43979
Points
Little Lamb 10/17/12 - 11:28 am
0
6
Business

This proposed road straightening is not only to benefit Augusta National. It is also designed to provide smoother traffic flow from the Hill to Costco.

Fiat_Lux
14853
Points
Fiat_Lux 10/17/12 - 11:41 am
5
0
Oh, wonderful. Roundabouts.

What kind of idiots are planning these things anyway? Roundabouts are a huge mistake, especially the tiny things being put in around this area.

Take it from someone who grew up in downtown Savannah: people don't easily comprehend how to deal with roundabouts. And heavy traffic from one direction makes it impossible for traffic trying to enter from another access point to get into the flow.

Traffic lights are far better in higher traffic areas like Washington Road. Roundabouts are reasonable in low, slow traffic, ie, rural areas. They were acceptable on Hilton Head Island back in the 60s and 70s, but are a total nightmare now.

Whoever is pushing this on us, a traffic management feature that has been proven over and over, both here and in Europe, to be a really bad idea is either stupid, hateful, or in a position to make a lot of money from it.

Fiat_Lux
14853
Points
Fiat_Lux 10/17/12 - 11:44 am
5
0
And we don't need a smoother traffic flow

from the Hill area to Costco. That is completely absurd. Reducing the number of turns through a relatively low-traffic route does not justify the cost of doing it. My own street's need for re-surfacing would rank way ahead of this.

Little Lamb
43979
Points
Little Lamb 10/17/12 - 12:53 pm
1
1
Roundabout Greenies

I think you can attribute today's push for roundabouts instead of signalled intersections to the Environmental Whacko movement. You use less gasoline when you don't have to stop and start at a traffic signal.

countyman
19166
Points
countyman 10/17/12 - 01:22 pm
2
1
I think once the Village at

I think once the Village at Riverwatch becomes fully developed in the future. People will start to beg for some type of road improvements especially during Masters week.

F4therTime
4656
Points
F4therTime 10/17/12 - 04:40 pm
1
1
Had to get
Unpublished

That village plug in? It has nothing to do with this article...once again.

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