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Eyes on the Road: Gainesville's roads study gets under way

POSTED: January 27, 2013 11:43 p.m.

Some initial work has started on Gainesville’s transportation study.

Last week, city officials took a tour of city roads — and potential trouble spots — with the project consultant, Norcross-based Pond & Co.

The firm won a $125,000 contract late last year to conduct the study.

Richard Fangmann, Pond’s director of transportation planning, has said the firm would be looking at “traditional” and “nontraditional” solutions concerning Gainesville’s traffic woes.

“There is certainly a role for (road widenings) and we need to look at those and ... where they are appropriate,” Fangmann said at a Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization policy committee meeting in the fall.

But Pond also will be considering “complete streets,” which take into account different types of users, including motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.

And Pond will look at city roads as a “grid network” of interconnecting streets and “how it can work for vehicular traffic,” Fangmann said.

Overall, Pond will look at problem areas and determine “what’s the context of that problem, (such as) is this a downtown street with local circulation or a major connecting road that we need to solve?”

“We’ll look at a range of options and then achievable recommendations,” Fangmann said.

The plan is to complete the study by August, working with public “stakeholders” and others in the community.

Last week’s tour was meant to familiarize Pond & Co. with Gainesville roads, said Dee Taylor, the city’s traffic engineer.

Also, “we’re in the final stages of basically fine-tuning the advertisement — or something along those lines — for applications to be considered for the stakeholders committee,” he said.

Here’s a couple of tips from Friday’s ‘ice storm’

Even though last week’s ice storm turned out to be more bark than bite, the episode helped revive a couple of tips from the Georgia Department of Transportation in case more bad weather comes our way.

“Slow down and stay behind the spreading equipment,” states DOT spokesman David Spear in a press release.

“The road behind the truck will be the safest place to drive. Allow at least 10 car lengths between your vehicle and hopper spreaders.”

Also, motorists should call 511 for road conditions or consult www.georgia-navigator.com before traveling.

“Please check conditions in your area and the area to which you are traveling,” DOT Commissioner Keith Golden said. “If you can, postpone leaving until after daybreak. That will give the sun an opportunity to assist in melting the ice and will provide you much better visibility of any possible trouble spots.”

Snow and ice is gone from the forecast this week, replaced by a chance for springlike thunderstorms and gusty winds.

Annual transportation forum is set for March 13

The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Transportation Forum has been scheduled for 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. March 13 at the University of North Georgia’s Gainesville campus.

DOT officials typically talk about current and future transportation plans for the Hall County area at the program.

The forum is open to the public. The cost is $15 for chamber members and $20 for all others, and the price includes lunch.

To make reservations, contact Joy Sims at 770-532-6206 or jsims@ghcc.com. Also, reservations can be made at greaterhallchamber.com.

Jeff Gill covers transportation issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with him:

jgill@gainesvilletimes.com

facebook.com/jeffagill

@JeffGTimes


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