GHSU worker hit crossing street

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A Medical College of Georgia Hospital employee was hit by a pickup Thursday morning in a section of Laney-Walker Boulevard that Georgia Health Sciences University would like to close.

A man was hit by a truck Thursday while crossing Laney-Walker Boulevard, which is surrounded by the Medical College of Georgia Hospital campus.   Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
A man was hit by a truck Thursday while crossing Laney-Walker Boulevard, which is surrounded by the Medical College of Georgia Hospital campus.

The accident prompted GHSU President Ricardo Azziz to renew his call to make his campus safer by closing off that section to through traffic.

Jimmy Flournoy, 51, an environmental health services technician, was hit at 6:30 a.m. in a crosswalk behind the university's library.

He was listed in fair condition at MCG, said Azziz, who visited Flournoy in the Emergency Department. Flournoy was conscious and talking, he said. Flournoy was wearing a neck brace and was strapped to a backboard, and Azziz said he did not want to speculate on the extent of his injuries.

"I'm hoping he will recover and recover fully," Azziz said.

Flournoy was hit by a Dodge Ram pickup driven by William McIntyre, of Kings Gate Drive, said Richmond County sheriff's Maj. Richard Weaver.

McIntyre will be charged with failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, Weaver said.

In December, Azziz asked the Augusta Commission to close that area of Laney-Walker between 15th Street and R.A. Dent Boulevard to most vehicle traffic to create a pedestrian mall that would unify the campus, improve safety and honor the road's namesakes, Lucy Craft Laney and the Rev. C.T. Walker.

The request prompted a backlash from some people in the surrounding community who see it as an inconvenience and an affront to the historic nature of the road, which served as a main artery to the black business district.

Azziz said talks and studies are still under way.

"We're continuing to dialogue with the community and with the city," he said. "We're waiting for the city to have public hearings regarding this. And we're waiting for the city to have final engineering data so that we can make plans for alternative routing, if you would."

City Traffic Engineer Steve Cassell said he would like to have a comprehensive study completed by early May. It would look at the traffic going through the area and where it is headed and determine the impact on major intersections if the area were closed.

The number of people hit by vehicles overall in Augusta seems to be fairly consistent from year to year. Data on the city's Web site, which runs from 1998 to 2005, showed that 816 people were hit during that period, with 33 deaths, an average of 102 pedestrians and 4.125 deaths per year, according to an analysis by The Augusta Chronicle .

It is not the first time an MCG staffer or student has been hit in the area by a vehicle. In 2008, a graduate student was killed while crossing 15th Street at its intersection with Laney-Walker.

Azziz said the school fears that will only increase after the new building for the College of Dental Medicine opens later this year across Laney-Walker from its current building, at which time classes will be held in both buildings.

"We're going to have 600 students walking back and forth across Laney-Walker," he said. "The mathematics tell us, the chances tell us that the number of accidents is going to increase exponentially."

The university is trying to work with others on a potential compromise, he said.

"We want to reach a solution that everybody feels comfortable with," the president said. "But at the end of the day, it is my responsibility as president of this university to ensure the safety of my community."

Staff Writer Bianca Cain contributed to this article.

Comments (32) Add comment
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Indigo
4
Points
Indigo 03/10/11 - 12:06 pm
0
0
Hmm, maybe a pedestrian plaza

Hmm, maybe a pedestrian plaza would be a good idea? No, wait, that's racist! Its much better to keep allowing these peds to get run over.

Riverman1
111373
Points
Riverman1 03/10/11 - 01:49 pm
0
0
Shut er down!

Shut er down!

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
33
Points
Crime Reports and Rewards TV 03/10/11 - 09:08 pm
0
0
If we had dug tunnels under

If we had dug tunnels under there like we said to do this would not have happened. We have over 350,000 DOCTORS in our A+ rated 25 yr old network. Many of them want to pull MCG and every other med school out of Augusta and move them to SAFER LOCATIONS. This would BANKRUPT AUGUSTA over night. We B-E-T-T-E-R start taking care of our Doctors before they go to other towns that are BEGGING FOR THEM. Remember how we lost the Futurity because we TOOK THEM FOR GRANTED? This is about to happen to our medical community and when it does remember, We TOLD YOU SO!
PS if you’re a Tax user GOING TO A doctor many of them are N-O-T happy with you!!!

athome
95
Points
athome 03/10/11 - 02:22 pm
0
0
Maybe it is just too

Maybe it is just too simple... Do people in the medical community not know to LOOK BOTH WAYS before they step off the curb?? A pedestrian tunnel or bridge would solve the problem, avoid the community outrage, and save tons of money. A win-win for all involved.

Riverman1
111373
Points
Riverman1 03/10/11 - 02:29 pm
0
0
The problem is that major

The problem is that major crossing points are all up and down the street. It's unreasonable to ask pedestrians to walk a long distance to get to a bridge or tunnel. In addition, that does nothing to improve the aesthetics and enclose the campus.

GuesS_wHU
3
Points
GuesS_wHU 03/10/11 - 02:39 pm
0
0
There is already a pedestrian

There is already a pedestrian bridge for students, employees and faculty to cross Laney-Walker unimpeded by cars and weather. It isn't used because it isn't convenient.

If there were raised cross walks along this stretch of Laney-Walker, as there should be, this would not have happened.

If we are truly concerned with safety at MCG camps then why isn't something being done with 15th st? Can we get that closed from Harper St to Laney Walker? The traffic moves much faster there and people have actually died on that road.

floridasun
401
Points
floridasun 03/10/11 - 03:00 pm
0
0
Close Laney Walker through

Close Laney Walker through the GHSU campus.

Med College guy 64
0
Points
Med College guy 64 03/10/11 - 03:47 pm
0
0
@athome: How do you know he

@athome: How do you know he wasn't looking both ways?
He was in the crosswalk. There are cars coming constantly. You can be staring the driver in the eyes as they are coming at you. The driver is supposed to stop when you are in the crosswalk.
There are posted signs.

We need to close Laney-Walker and have greenspace there. Each of us takes our life in our hands every time we cross the street.

And the pedestrian bridge that exists goes from the inside of one building into the hospital. It does not serve the entire street. The crosswalks are the only reasonable option for most of the employees.

This incident should have never happened. Politics and Augusta's persistent resistance to any kind of change kept reasonable steps from being taken here and now this hard-working man is in the hospital.

TimesLikeThese
1
Points
TimesLikeThese 03/10/11 - 05:53 pm
0
0
This isn't the first and it

This isn't the first and it won't be the last until they close this section of Laney Walker. There should not be a major thoroughfare right through the middle of a campus, plain and simple. All the people resisting this idea will get over it, they are just playing victim. If they cant see the sense of it then their opinion should be left out of the equation. They will find something else to complain about eventually.

kmb413
533
Points
kmb413 03/10/11 - 05:56 pm
0
0
I am suprised no one thinks

I am suprised no one thinks that this was done just to start the debate over closing the road....that would be sick.

Sweet Tooth
2
Points
Sweet Tooth 03/10/11 - 07:51 pm
0
0
If Laney-Walker is closed to

If Laney-Walker is closed to allow unimpeded pedestrian traffic, it would also make sense to close Harper Street running between the Downtown VA Hospital and MCG Hospital and Childrens Medical Center.

Which is more important to Dr. Azziz? The safety of students crossing Laney-Walker, or the safety of patients and visitors crossing Harper Street?

Also, it appears from looking at a campus map that closing Laney-Walker would land-lock the GHSU Administration Building. Would the administrators then walk from satellite parking lots rather than parking directly outside their offices?

Or, is part of the plan to close Laney-Walker general traffic still allow administrators key-card access to the street to get to their private parking lot?

corgimom
46795
Points
corgimom 03/10/11 - 10:08 pm
0
0
Help me out here. If you

Help me out here.

If you close the street to some, but not all, traffic, doesn't it seem that it's still just as hazardous for pedestrians?

It only takes one car and one driver to hit someone.

Med College guy 64
0
Points
Med College guy 64 03/11/11 - 12:38 am
0
0
@SweetTooth No need to close

@SweetTooth

No need to close Harper. Much slower flow- it isn't a thoroughfare, just an access road for patients and emergency vehicles. As someone that crosses both of these roads daily, I can assure you L-W is by far much more dangerous. I have had several close calls there, no close calls on Harper.

@corgimon- no, if L-W was no longer a major thoroughfare it would completely change the level of danger. Right now it is a major artery and there is a constant flow of cars. I play frogger there everyday.

iLove
626
Points
iLove 03/11/11 - 08:48 am
0
0
"The problem is that major
Unpublished

"The problem is that major crossing points are all up and down the street. It's unreasonable to ask pedestrians to walk a long distance to get to a bridge or tunnel. In addition, that does nothing to improve the aesthetics and enclose the campus."

O man! We don't want to inconvience these people. It all about them! :/

It is ironic that this has happened givien the recent debate about the street. . . . . .

"A pedestrian tunnel or bridge would solve the problem, avoid the community outrage, and save tons of money. A win-win for all involved."

People these days always think of self and not others. I agree that this is the best solution.

I really would not be surprised that this was a set up. When was the last time someone was hit by a car in this area???

I honestly want to say, just go ahead and do whatever you (Dr. Azzi) want to do. This simple issue can only take place in Augusta, Ga. Only is Augusta, Ga.

Dental Doc
38
Points
Dental Doc 03/11/11 - 08:49 am
0
0
I was crossing Laney Walker

I was crossing Laney Walker at 6:20 am this morning. A doctor was in the crosswalk ahead of me and I had just entered the crosswalk when a car driven by a young man went tearing between us. He didn't appear to even see us. To take the overhead crosswalk would add about 10 minutes to the walk from parking to my building. I say add the greenspace.

Riverman1
111373
Points
Riverman1 03/11/11 - 09:12 am
0
0
Corgimom, the plan is to

Corgimom, the plan is to close it to traffic and create a greenspace, but allow emergency vehicles to cross driving on the sidewalk if necessary. That would be rare and hardly a danger.

Telling It Like It Is
0
Points
Telling It Like It Is 03/11/11 - 10:21 am
0
0
Why doesn't MCG just build a

Why doesn't MCG just build a cross-walk? It's a STREET, for God's sake - that's where cars & trucks are SUPPOSED to be! (When will all the pedestrian's, bicyclists & wheelrchair riders in Augusta realize this?!) A cross-walk would be a win-win for everyone involved. Closing Laney Walker should NOT be an option! A entire city needs to continue functioning - not just MCG. Safety IS important, so here are two solutions - MCG can build a cross-walk, or MCG can hire several crossing guards like the school system has. PROBLEM SOLVED......

dani
13
Points
dani 03/11/11 - 10:29 am
0
0
If drivers would heed the

If drivers would heed the signs there would be no problem.

Not only are there signs about crosswalks, there are stop signs. Drivers who are in a hurry maybe should take another route.

Until 3 mos ago I was a regular at the Xwalks, and it was surprising to see the number of drivers who pretend they don't see you.

Little Lamb
53157
Points
Little Lamb 03/11/11 - 11:22 am
0
0
Tom Corwin wrote: Jimmy

Tom Corwin wrote:

Jimmy Flournoy, 51, an environmental health services technician, was hit at 6:30 a.m. in a crosswalk behind the university's library.

Telling It Like It Is responded:

Why doesn't MCG just build a cross-walk? It's a STREET, for God's sake – that's where cars & trucks are SUPPOSED to be! (When will all the pedestrians, bicyclists & wheelchair riders in Augusta realize this?!) A cross-walk would be a win-win for everyone involved.

Was "Telling" actually thinking about a cross-over bridge instead of a cross-walk? If so, look at this comment from Riverman:

The problem is that major crossing points are all up and down the street. It's unreasonable to ask pedestrians to walk a long distance to get to a bridge or tunnel.

There's no pleasing everyone. Somebody's got to take charge here.

miaka
5
Points
miaka 03/11/11 - 11:24 am
0
0
@Telling It Like It Is: There

@Telling It Like It Is: There are several crosswalks on Laney Walker. Drivers ignore the posted signs that it is State Law to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk.

@athome: Please advise how a pedestrian bridge would allow for disabled individuals to cross over Laney Walker. If a tunnel was built, Laney Walker would still need to be closed for construction. This does not solve the issue.

Little Lamb
53157
Points
Little Lamb 03/11/11 - 11:25 am
0
0
iLove wrote: I really would

iLove wrote:

I really would not be surprised that this was a set up. When was the last time someone was hit by a car in this area???

Yeah, Mr. Flournoy "took one for the Gipper." (Or would that be "for the ZZipper"???)

TheMaskedMan
7
Points
TheMaskedMan 03/11/11 - 11:26 am
0
0
If bridges are built up and

If bridges are built up and down Laney-Walker, how do you suppose handicapped people are supposed to go over those bridges? For the height necessary, the ramps would have to be really long to meet ADA requirements and there isn't room for them unless you knock a couple of buildings down. Safety and access should be considered first. Then you have the aesthetics of all those bridges - UGLY!

TheMaskedMan
7
Points
TheMaskedMan 03/11/11 - 11:29 am
0
0
iLove - no one in their right

iLove - no one in their right mind would do it and another thing, Mr. Flournoy is in environmental services (janitorial/maintenance) - he's not making enough money to even consider getting run over, he's not crazy.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 03/11/11 - 11:30 am
0
0
What is GHSU? It sounds like

What is GHSU? It sounds like a weird name for a federal laboratory or something.

Hint to new MCG leaders. It is MCG. GHSU is stupid. I can hardly even say it.

redked13
2
Points
redked13 03/11/11 - 11:33 am
0
0
My wife works at MCG and I

My wife works at MCG and I use Laney Walker to take her to work often, so she doesn't have to walk a long way in bad weather. Also, the only way to access parts of the hospital for delivery vehicles is on Laney Walker. Closing Laney Walker actually makes life more difficult for many MCG employees and their service providers.
Here's the solution: build a large green space in the middle of laney walker and allow one lane in each direction for delivery vehichles etc. bordering the green space. Then, put lots of high speed bumps in the lanes to maintain a minimum speed on that road.
This solves the aesthetic need for the campus. It doesn't completely restrict traffic flow for service vehicles and employees use, and it costs a lot less than tunnels or the need to widen roads around MCG
WHY IS THIS SO DIFFICULT

Riverman1
111373
Points
Riverman1 03/11/11 - 11:52 am
0
0
Itlove said, "I really would

Itlove said, "I really would not be surprised that this was a set up. When was the last time someone was hit by a car in this area???"

That's one of the funniest things in a kind of Charlie Sheen way that I've seen in a while.

miaka
5
Points
miaka 03/11/11 - 11:53 am
0
0
@redked13: The Laney Walker

@redked13: The Laney Walker proposal would include access to key points on the GHSU campus for emergency and service vehicles. See the Augusta Chronicle article mentioned below:

http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/metro/2011-01-05/mcg-compromises-laney...

GuesS_wHU
3
Points
GuesS_wHU 03/11/11 - 04:29 pm
0
0
Close Laney Walker and Harper

Close Laney Walker and Harper St becomes more dangerous and congested. Where else is all that traffic going to go?

A possible, and cost effective, solution would be to add raised crosswalks at each crossing point along Laney Walker. Traffic would be forced to slow down at each crosswalk.

I've had family working on campus for over 30 years and I have been here for almost 10. I've been on both sides of that street and crossing in both directions. I've never come close to getting hit. Not once. Check this out, before crossing I take the responsibility upon myself to make sure I don't get hit or nearly hit. Weird concept for some, personal responsibility.

Riverman1
111373
Points
Riverman1 03/11/11 - 05:02 pm
0
0
The other factors are that

The other factors are that the school wants to close the road to improve the safety of the campus by limiting those passing through and improve the greenspace. Nothing wrong with those goals besides the obvious pedestrian safety.

corgimom
46795
Points
corgimom 03/11/11 - 07:40 pm
0
0
I just got back from

I just got back from California and driving in downtown Los Angeles, which is jam packed with people crossing streets and extremely heavy vehicle traffic.

What did California do? They put up special traffic lights at crosswalks that are built in the middle of a block. A pedestrian has to hit the button on the pole, the traffic light turns red, the pedestrian crosses, then the light turns green and traffic resumes. No pedestrian, no red light.

It works.

Why doesn't GHSU just do that?

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