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Eyes on the Road: Road group looking to OK streets policy
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Area planners are looking to approve a policy that requires considering all modes of travel in road construction.

“The design and construction of new (roads) should anticipate likely demand for bicycling and pedestrian (uses),” states a document that will be considered by the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Technical Coordinating Committee.

The committee plans to review the proposed “complete streets” policy at its next meeting, set for 10:30 a.m. April 15 at the Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road.

The policy states that every public right of way should be planned, designed, built and maintained with all uses in mind.

Also, project plans should consider appropriate Georgia plants and landscaping materials as often as possible.

The policy does note that “not all roadways are suitable for complete streets treatment,” but at least, “sidewalks should be installed unless local conditions dictate otherwise.”

The technical committee, a group of area planners, engineers and other government officials, can only make recommendations within the MPO.

The decision-making body is the policy committee, made up of top elected officials. That committee is set to meet
May 12.

Resident still pushing for traffic light at crossing

A South Hall resident is still pushing for a traffic light on Ga. 347 at Reunion Way.

A study was previously done on the need for the light at the entrance to Reunion Country Club, but the opening of nearby Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton on Ga. 347 “has ramped up traffic dramatically, and that trend will continue,” Brian Luders said in a Monday request to the Georgia Department of Transportation.

He got a prompt written reply, but not one he liked.

“The traffic volume has increased ... but would not affect the volumes on the side street,” according to the DOT’s customer service unit. “Since the side street volume did not increase, this location does not meet the threshold for a signal.”

The agency determines the need for a traffic light based on criteria in the Federal Highway Administration’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

The DOT has now performed two studies at the intersection, the last one late last year after pleas by Reunion residents.

“We do not want to wait for a death to prompt a traffic light,” Luders has said.

He said a driver making a left-hand turn from Reunion Way to Ga. 347 means crossing multiple lanes of traffic in a time period “way beyond the normal allowance a driver gives for oncoming traffic.”

“Oncoming traffic is also ... below the elevation of the driver turning, which makes for an inherent complication in perception and time allowance,” Luders said.

Residents also reached out to state lawmakers on the issue.

The stretch of Ga. 347 between Ga. 211/Old Winder Highway and Spout Springs Road opened in June as part of an overall 8-mile widening project with a Jan. 12 completion date.

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