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Eyes on the Road: Future roads might accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists
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Oakwood City Manager Stan Brown said he would like to see area road planners consider more than just adding asphalt in future road-widening projects.

“It’s important that we adopt policies that encourage us to at least look at each road project that comes along to make sure we try to incorporate other modes of transportation within that right of way,” he said.

He cited the new Ga. 347 in South Hall as an example. The road, which is under construction in four- and six-lane stretches between Ga. 211 and Interstate 985, will feature 10-foot multiuse paths suitable for pedestrians and bicyclists.

One segment of the new road — between Spout Springs Road and Ga. 211 — opened June 23.

Brown plans to recommend a “Complete Streets” policy for the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization, Hall County’s road planning agency, at a July 16 meeting of the MPO’s technical coordinating committee, a group comprising area planners and engineers.

The meeting is set for 10:30 a.m. at the Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville.
Brown said he would like to see such a policy as part of the MPO’s long-range transportation plan update, which is underway and slated for adoption in 2015.

The Georgia Department of Transportation has a Complete Streets policy of its own in place.

The DOT “coordinates with local governments and regional planning agencies to ensure that bicycle, pedestrian and transit needs are addressed beginning with system planning and continuing through design, construction and maintenance and operations,” according to its website.

“This is the ... approach for promoting pedestrian, bicycle, and transit modes of travel in Georgia.”

“In a lot of ways, (local adoption) is more symbolic in that we’re seeing the importance of making sure that we look at more than just trying to carry vehicles up and down the road,” Brown said.

Judging by comments at a public input meeting held in June on Hall’s long-range plan, “there’s a lot of interest in bicycles and pedestrian (travel),” he said. “The community does have some interest in sidewalks and bike paths.”
Fitting in those paths after a road widening is completed is “much costlier and more difficult to do,” Brown said.

The July 16 meeting otherwise figures to be a busy meeting.

Also on the agenda is discussion about Spout Springs Road in South Hall.

Richard Mecum, chairman of the Hall County Board of Commissioners, sought to make the Spout Springs Road widening project a top priority in a May meeting of the MPO’s decision-making policy committee.

No one seconded his motion, so it failed to pass.

Flowery Branch Mayor Mike Miller said he agreed the road project needs to be a priority, “but I would like to see a list of what we would be displacing if we bumped that up.”

DOT continues mowing along area state routes

DOT maintenance crews are mowing alongside Ga. 283 in North Hall County this week.

The mowing season continues in other parts of the region, as well, including Ga. 183 and Ga. 52 in Dawson County and Ga. 306 and Ga. 369 in Forsyth County.

Road shoulders will be closed as the work occurs.

Crews are set to work from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily through Friday, weather permitting.

Elsewhere, a crew is repairing the shoulders alongside Ga. 59 and Ga. 105 in Banks County. A lane will be closed as this work occurs.