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Open house for Laney-Walker plan

Monday, Jan. 7, 2013 5:09 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 2:24 AM
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Plans to narrow and beautify the stretch of Laney-Walker Boulevard that runs through Georgia Health Sciences Uni­versity will be presented at a meeting tonight.

An open house will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Lucy Craft Laney Mu­seum of Black History, 1116 Phillips St.

The stretch would be narrowed from four lanes to two, roadside parking would be eliminated, and 5-foot-wide bike lanes would be installed on each side, according to an e-mail from project manager Bruce G. Anderson Jr.

The road would have two slight bends or “jogs” in that stretch, which “visually slows traffic down and keeps it at the 25 mph limit much easier,” said Phil Howard, GHSU’s vice president for facility services.

Crosswalks would be slightly raised to make them more prominent, and some high shrubs along the road would be eliminated to improve visibility for drivers, he said.

GHSU President Ricardo Azziz sparked protests from the community when he broached closing the stretch to create a more unified, safer campus. About 8,500 pedestrians cross that two-block stretch every day, and a previous Augusta Chronicle analysis of accident data found eight people hit by vehicles in that area since 1995.

That concern about safety had led university officials to pursue the project and get it in the state queue before Azziz arrived, Howard said.

That’s why this project is different, he said.

“It’s not a closure,” Howard said. “It is an enhancement to the street, and it is an improvement to pedestrian safety by clear­ing up the visibility along the road.”

It should fit in nicely with other plans to improve the adjacent 15th Street corridor, he said.

“We’re pretty excited about that happening as well,” Howard said. “We’re hopeful that this will start a trend in the area.”

The Georgia Department of Trans­por­tation is providing an enhancement grant to go with university funding.

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Georgialina 01/08/13 - 09:56 am
Dumb Idea

Of course this meeting is just a farce. This idea has been a dream of Dr Azziz and has the blessing of the Ga DOT. So consider it a done deal!!!This idea is even worse than the name of the school, in my humble opinion. As much traffic that is in that area, an intelligent person should be thinking about adding lanes instead of taking them away.This road is a main artery through that area, limiting access is NOT a smart idea. What about deliveries? Daily I see FedEx, UPS and other couriers who have to use the roadside parking to make deliveries. What are they suppose to do? I guess they will have to park in the bike lanes(?) If the true reason is pedestrian safety, overhead crosswalks would solve that problem. Over 98% of the parking for the campus is reserved already, this plan just eliminates even more spaces. Of course Dr Azziz does not have this issue since he has TWO parking spaces reserved for himself and his special guests right outside his office.

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