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Committee to consider pedestrian bridge

Crosswalk returns to Augusta Commission's agenda

Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013 6:12 PM
Last updated Monday, Jan. 7, 2013 1:14 AM
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An elevated pedestrian bridge connecting Augusta’s new convention center to its parking garage across Rey­nolds Street returns for consideration by an Augusta Com­mis­sion committee Monday.

Placed on the public services committee agenda by City Administrator Fred Russell, the bridge was included in an August deal to approve a management agreement for the garage.

Last month, only five commissioners voted in favor of allocating $891,561 in sales-tax funds for the covered crosswalk.

Augusta’s standing committees are under new leadership as of Monday. Commissioner Grady Smith now heads public services, with Commissioner Marion Wil­liams as vice chairman and Com­mis­sioners Corey John­son and Wayne Guilfoyle as members.

Placed on the committee agenda by Commissioner Alvin Mason is a “plan for increased transportation that encompasses bus routes that cover all of south Augusta and Fort Gordon.” The city’s privately run bus service currently omits Hephzibah, Blythe and the Army post areas.

The city’s Planning and Development department has requested committee approval of a new taxi cab ordinance that increases operator requirements for business licenses, insurance, background checks, vehicle age and other standards.

Russell will present information on “remaining space needs” for city departments in light of recently completed construction projects and others that are incomplete, such as planned renovations to the Municipal Building.

At the first meeting of the administrative services committee Monday, Williams has requested an update on the city’s 2009 disparity study.

The $586,000 study, performed by NERA Economic Consulting, was held after a federal court order barred Augusta’s use of affirmative action in awarding contracts because of its use of 1994 data. The 2009 study found disparities in city awards to women and minorities, but the federal injunction remains intact.

Commissioner Bill Lock­ett, who was reappointed for a second two-year term as administrative services chairman, has requested approval of Veterans Day as a paid city employee holiday and recognition of “Small Business Saturday.”

The Engineering Services Committee, now headed by Joe Jackson, will consider a presentation from Marian Moseley of a petition against the Berckmans Road realignment project. The petition includes about 500 signatures, Moseley said.

The committee meetings will follow a noon called meeting of the full commission with its attorneys.

The meetings are held in the Lee Beard Commission Chamber on the eighth floor of the Municipal Building, 530 Greene St.

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soapy_725
43678
Points
soapy_725 01/06/13 - 07:24 pm
0
0
All with a 4million dollar deficit
Unpublished

The new cast of clowns are in the center ring. Ben Dover is the Ring Master.

Little Lamb
46029
Points
Little Lamb 01/06/13 - 08:28 pm
5
1
Not again, sigh.

When does the Augusta Commission’s “No” mean NO! ? ? ? ? What kind of wooden stake will it take to kill this idea?

Please, new commissioners Davis, Fennoy, Smith, and Williams — please gather together two other commissioners (Guilfoyle and Johnson, perhaps) and form an unbudging coalition to stop this unnecessary waste of taxpayers’ money. There is a perfectly good crosswalk (actually, two) to get visitors from the deck to the TEE box. We don’t need no stinkin’ crosswalk!

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 01/06/13 - 09:14 pm
5
1
Make it a suspension

Make it a suspension bridge,
And put Fred Russell on one end collecting Tolls.

Little Lamb
46029
Points
Little Lamb 01/06/13 - 08:49 pm
5
2
Digging the financial hole deeper and deeper . . .

From the story:

Commissioner Bill Lock­ett . . . has requested approval of Veterans Day as a paid city employee holiday. . . .

We are bleeding money and they want another pint!

dichotomy
33007
Points
dichotomy 01/06/13 - 10:02 pm
6
2
They are saying we are $4

They are saying we are $4 million short on next year's budget. Drive a damned stake in the heart of this crosswalk.....now you're down to $3 million. Kill Mason's expansion of bus service....there's probably another $1 million saved. See how easy this is guys. It's call LIVING WITHIN WHAT WE ARE ALREADY PAYING YOU.

NOW, quit with the fantasizing about SPENDING MORE MONEY and get your butts to work FIXING THE ILLEGAL DUAL PROPERTY TAX AND FEE SYSTEM. There should not be another issue addressed by this commission UNTIL THE PROPERTY TAX AND FEE DISPARITY IS FIXED. NOTHING ELSE IS SIGNIFICANT UNTIL THIS IS DONE. NOT ONE SECOND SHOULD BE SPENT ON ANYTHING ELSE UNTIL YOU HAVE A LEGAL FIX.

This commission has ZERO credibility, and as far as I am concerned, zero legality concerning the rural residents, particularly the South Richmond County residents, until the ILLEGAL property tax and fee system is fixed. And don't even start with that RAIN TAX crap because the EPA lost that battle in court and you cannot use meeting their requirements as an excuse for this totally insane tax any longer.

itsanotherday1
43283
Points
itsanotherday1 01/06/13 - 10:25 pm
8
1
Hey guys, you know they need

Hey guys, you know they need a safe way to get the throngs of daily conventioneers across the street....

GnipGnop
12241
Points
GnipGnop 01/06/13 - 11:44 pm
6
2
how many people are hit on reynolds??

How about Washington road? I see where there would be a need for one there but it's cheaper to tell people to cross the road where they should and explain to them who loses between a car and someone walking when they collidr...it ain't rocket science!!

TrulyWorried
14276
Points
TrulyWorried 01/06/13 - 11:58 pm
6
2
Bridge over Reynolds Street

Lord help us - how much for advanced "studies" how much for whatever else comes along before they even start. And then, who will use it - they first have to have tenants for the TEE Center and I don't know if that brand new parking garage is opened yet - I have not been by there lately. How about a nice traffic light, with buttons for the pedestrians to push when wishing to cross, right there at the garage and the TEE Center. Think of the money saved and it would not even need any advanced "suggestions" from highly priced out of town companies. Think, Commissioners - please THINK and save our hard earned money!!! Reynolds is not Riverwatch Parkway and the traffic would not be impeded that much. PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

countyman
20129
Points
countyman 01/07/13 - 01:57 am
2
7
Good idea!

I think the local government should do a better job at explaining the future plans to the local community. How many people know about the future plans related to Reynolds street? Local residents of the community are behind the $100 million arts campaign going on, and the performing arts center will probably cost over $100 million by itself. The project could become even larger if the city decides to chip in a few millions, because GHSU will raise millions already by themselves. The performing arts center would traffic additional traffic, and we haven't even discussed the student dorms yet.

1. Fort Discovery(Discovery Plaza) was sold, and could equal hundreds of new jobs.
2. Dorms, research buildings, performing arts center, etc at the GGHF site.
3. Watermark site/train depot will become something.(Attracted the over $100 million private investment before the recession).

I do agree Washington rd should have a crosswalk too. The $100 million cancer center coming to 15th street will include a crosswalk over 15th.

countyman
20129
Points
countyman 01/07/13 - 02:00 am
3
8
Public transportation= quality of life issue

I hope the leaders of Augusta realize in bigger cities a large percentage of their residents use public transportation. Here in Augusta it's mostly people without their own transportation, and we desperately need to include Fort Gordon. The bus system can run all the way to Tobacco rd along Windsor Spring, Mike Padgett, Doug Barnard, and Peach Orchard. The airport is located near the Tobacco/Doug Barnard intersection. The expansion should include additional routes, and increasing the hours to 24/7 in the future. You can take baby steps, and end the service around 2am-3am in the beginning. The design/color scheme of the buses must change, and please make them electrical. Public transportation is one of the top quality of life issues. It happens to attracts new residents, companies, etc.

I don't know how you can expect Augusta to compete against Chattannooga, Greenville, Columbia, Charleston, Savannah, Greensboro, Winston Salem, etc with a pitiful bus system. Chattanooga already has electric buses, and Columbus included a 24/7 bus system for Tsplost which got approved.
http://www.afdc.energy.gov/pdfs/chatt_cs.pdf

This way Augusta can demolish the bus terminal on Broad to help further rejuvenate Harrisburg, and create a better gateway leading into the Medical District. The land could be sold to GRU or some private developer. It makes perfect sense due to the 25 acre development in the same general area.

The city can then build a bus transfer station/police precinct in the CBD, and follow through with the plans of the main bus depot in South Augusta(Mike Padgett).

CATFISHSTEW
14
Points
CATFISHSTEW 01/07/13 - 01:57 am
6
3
Cross Walk

Here is a great Idea fire Administrator Fred Russel, the hire him back and put him in a crossing guard uniform,white gloves whistle the whole nine yards and let him get all of the many visitors across the street. Would sure as hell save the city the almost 1 million which in the end would cost. sounds like a good deal to me.

Augusta resident
1368
Points
Augusta resident 01/07/13 - 03:06 am
8
0
Waste of our money

I'm still mad about the $500K they wasted on the downtown parking study. The $400K wasted on fighting X-Mart. They cost of solid waste disposal going up and services going down. Quit spending money like congress. I can't even control my own budget with these people planning on raising taxes all the time. I feel sorry for the elderly on fixed incomes.

Riverman1
84085
Points
Riverman1 01/07/13 - 05:50 am
7
4
They could use the crosswalk

They could use the crosswalk for rappelling and bungee jumping.

scgator
1042
Points
scgator 01/07/13 - 06:45 am
7
2
ANY bus system is never cost effective.

Even the most modern public transportation system is antiquated !!! Not in equipment, but, in "application"; with the majority of people today, owning cars, or at least having access to them...........there is no way to get enough of the "public" to commit to using the services to make it even a "break even" venture. I know that if most people need to go somewhere, they are not going to go stand on a corner for an hour or so......waiting on a bus to come by. Come on people, this is the 21st century; it would be far less costly, to come up with a discount pass or voucher for the public to use taxi services instead of the overhead of another white elephant.

seenitB4
87304
Points
seenitB4 01/07/13 - 09:05 am
3
3
Bridge over troubled waters

Where can we put a million dollars.....why....a bridge of course....just in case it floods again we will be ready...ohhh yeah!

Check with Clayton county why don't yall.....they really know how to throw money away......

Brad Owens
4448
Points
Brad Owens 01/07/13 - 09:06 am
4
0
Hmmmmm

If I am not mistaken (and I am not) didn't we just spend millions to upgrade all cross walks and pedestrian crosswalks with new ADA compliant? That includes ultra-modern equipment to help folks who are disabled, including the blind, cross with maximum safety.

This crosswalk is a waste of money and does not need to be funded.

Needs before wants.

diccotomy; this is SPLOST and cannot be used to pay regular operating expenses, it must be infrastructure "bricks and mortar" projects.

scgator: the way forward is direct private sponsored public transit for expansion of routes based on needs and not Federal government directed route requirements.

seenitB4
87304
Points
seenitB4 01/07/13 - 09:07 am
3
2
Amateurs

Gotta get busy if ya wanta keep up with Clayton county.....

seenitB4
87304
Points
seenitB4 01/07/13 - 09:40 am
5
3
ctyman says

Public transportation is one of the top quality of life issues. It happens to attracts new residents, companies, etc.

The kind of residents you need to attract have a dang car already.....& quality of life???????
Cut the crime..that is quality of life....you must be single & child free....because quality of life would mean something entirely different if you had children..

bubbasauce
20689
Points
bubbasauce 01/07/13 - 09:55 am
4
1
$1,000,000 for a covered

$1,000,000 for a covered crosswalk. UNBELIEVABLE!

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 01/07/13 - 10:42 am
4
2
CountyMan - mentions

Quoting "I don't know how you can expect Augusta to compete against..."

1st of all, thank you for your positive comments.
You balance the scales of opinion.
Countyman, believe it or not, I and many others learn good things are happening in RC-a from you. Not always where we want to see them, but good things for RC-a just the same.

In this case, this is a Contest we cannot afford to compete for many years to come. Richmond County / Augusta has reached a point where it is either start Bailing or Sink. It has boiled down to if RC-a will survive, as surrounding counties are expanding and growing sucking up and using our fleeing Tax Base.

Consolidation has not helped the county.
EVERYTHING that has been done in the county in the last 16 years was previously done quicker and better before consolidation, by the County for the County. No, the only true beneficiary of 16 years of Consolidation has been the City. Paint it how you or others wish. But provide me a list of things in 16 years the County could NOT have done for itself using its own Tax Base?

So NO we are not in a position to COMPETE. We need to survive 1st, by laying a strong clean foundation, stripped of the years of mistakes and wishful endeavors.

The Economic Demographics of RC-a, have changed.
The $$$$ just is not there, to keep building, and adding more indigent or subsidized services. We have $4M budget shortfall this year alone to content with. So bad we have Fred Russell hiring outside debt collectors.

It would be a safe statement to say.
Any new taxes will be fought Tooth and Nail by those living outside Gordon Hwy.

Seriously I am, and so are many others open to any logical, viable way to rebuild RC-a equally. But it is not going to happen adding a few occasionally used amenities downtown. To attract a middle class Taxpayers, it needs to be RC-a Wide, not just the downtown money pit called Augusta.

Unless the hidden Goal is to turn Downtown into Yuppieville USA.

justthefacts
21944
Points
justthefacts 01/07/13 - 10:26 am
5
1
Denial

Everywhere you look, new ballparks, bridges to nowhere, pork and more pork. Politicians simply don't get it. Never will I guess.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 01/07/13 - 10:47 am
3
1
Regarding the Covered HVAC Sky-Bridge to the T-Center

Nothing says it has to be voted on now, or budgeted for now, or even considered NOW.

Why not wait until we see how the T-Center bookings develop and Address the issue a few years down the road when we have more $$$ to waste?

seenitB4
87304
Points
seenitB4 01/07/13 - 10:55 am
3
2
open...close the door to south ausgusta please

Something tells me you have lost this contest.....either split away.....or build a wall at the Gordon Hy & build your own city..(it can be done yaknow) ck with North Atlanta.....
They don't give a rats behind what south Augusta wants-thinks-needs....folks are killed on Mike Padgett all the time....do you hear bridge work there!!

scgator
1042
Points
scgator 01/07/13 - 01:22 pm
2
1
Brad Owens

Good Point !! Taxi Services have ran for years without public funding. My late Father-in-law drove for Radio Cab for 53 years; the infrastructure is already in place; and to make it even better, it is an infrastructure that already contributes back to the local tax base. And you could probably bet that local "established" companies would be willing to invest in some 16 to 32 passenger vehicles, if they were designated specific routes to help them become profitable on the venture. Smaller buses running a designated "milk route" on a regular schedule would coerce the patrons to adapt to a new schedule and thus help to insure profitability for the supplier.

oneofthesane
2201
Points
oneofthesane 01/07/13 - 02:44 pm
1
0
If I am not mistaken (and I am not)......
Unpublished

reminded me of the walmart straight talk commercial so it made me LOL.....LOVE that commercial!

countyman
20129
Points
countyman 01/07/13 - 03:28 pm
1
1
There's no reason to build a

There's no reason to build a crosswalk for Mike Padgett, because the surrounding residents don't walk... The Mike Padgett project start this year, and cost over $25 millliion.

Since it's the 21st century then Augusta should have light rail in the urban core. The role of public transportation is to increase the quality of life, and not make revenue for the city.

Anybody notice how the 'stars' of the last decade in the south all had adequate public transportation.(Houston, Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Charlotte, etc). Cabs should be used to go along with the bus system, and not become the focal point. People at Fort Gordon love to come downtown on the weekends. A bus ride is far more cost effective than spending money on a cab.

Companies definitely look at the use of public transportation in each city. Trust me, they don't look at the numbers of cabs versus the bus/rail systems.

The crime rate in Richmond County continues to decrease every year including in 2012. I think you guys need to also realize people with cars would still use the bus system if ran properly.

The benefit of having additional foot traffic(you have to walk after exiting the bus), less carbon monoxide on the road(less cars), etc is too great to pass up.

countyman
20129
Points
countyman 01/07/13 - 03:58 pm
1
3
Open Curtain... Do you have

Open Curtain... Do you have any prove to show this fleeing tax base? Do you honestly believe Richmond County is not growing and expanding too? I mean you have the $172 million Starbucks plant, $115 million Rockwood plant, and the $76 million Medical Commons all under construction. The $1 billion NSA at Fort Gordon opened in the early portion of 2012. I hope you don't think other cities aren't dealing with budget issues. Augusta was very fortunate that it didn't have to lay off hundreds/thousands of city employees over the last few years. The city of Augusta has millions sitting in the reserve fund. The facts don't seem to back up your statements.

1. The median income of Augusta is similar to Charleston, Greenville, Savannah, Winston Salem, Columbia, Greensboro, Chattanooga, etc.
2. The number of home sales in Richmond County increase in 2012 over 2011.
3. Starbucks build a $172 million plant, and donated $200k to collaboration center.
4. Rockwood is building a $115 million plant in South Augusta.
5. Several large commercial sites(Village at Riverwatch, 25 acre development on 15th street, Carmax area, 44 acres at Walton Way Extension/I-520, etc)

Over the last decade millions of dollars have went into Diamond Lakes, $20 million vocational high school, $1 million marshalls office, millions for Augusta Mini theater, etc.. The city has spread the wealth to the South Augusta area.

The Chronicle continues to use you guys for it's personal excitement. Out of all the developments in the meeting they used the pedestrian bridge for the title. Over $1 million(more than the pedestrian bridge) was included in the same committee meeting for the Butler Creek upgrades in South Augusta. This is on top of the almost $1 million going to build the Butler Creek Trailhead Park which will end up making the Butler Creek Greenway(Butler Creek, Lombard Mill Pond, Phinizy Swamp)

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 01/07/13 - 04:00 pm
2
3
Augusta needs to do an

Augusta needs to do an excellent job at being what it is; and give up trying to be something it's not. Just because large cities have huge transportation systems, doesn't justify the want here. If it is profitable, a private entity will do it. Augusta, pay your bills, balance your budget, back law enforcement, support business owners and clean up this place.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 01/07/13 - 04:20 pm
2
2
Agree completely with Willow.

Agree completely with Willow. Those cities that countyman mentioned are on a completely different stratosphere than Augusta. They seriously need to work on public safety, clean things up a bit, and work with what they already have.

countyman
20129
Points
countyman 01/07/13 - 04:44 pm
1
2
Never settle for anything except the best!

What if the leaders of Raleigh and Austin said let's concentrate on playing second fiddle to Charlotte, Houston, Dallas, etc 15 years ago?

How do you explain Chattanooga having electrical buses, and Columbus including a 24/7 system in their Tsplost? Metro Augusta is bigger than both of these cities, and much larger compared to Columbus. Columbus voted for Tsplost, and will have a 24/7 bus system. While the same few people in the CSRA continue to complain about Tsplost passing, and commenting how public transportation is not important.

Some people need to visit other cities across the US, because they swear Augusta has nothing going for it. Columbus, GA with a smaller population and lower median income can build a performing arts center. Yet, the same few people on here will tell us that we can't support one.

Where is the money coming from to clean up Augusta or pay for law enforcement? The same few people don't want Augusta to build anything new, but expect the city to pay for everything without raising property taxes.

Augusta must focus on bringing new money into the area, and not solely relying on it's residents.

I could understand if they offer alternatives, but the comments usual stick to let's build nothing.

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