Two items in your paper recently point out the traffic crisis and the lack of overall management of this problem. On May 8, a meeting of the Gainesville Planning and Appeals board was held, and I attended that meeting. I was concerned because the board was considering the application by Limestone Greenway to develop 75 acres of woodland at the corner of Limestone Parkway and Jesse Jewel parkway.
A somewhat smaller project reported in your May 15 issue was that the Department of Transportation is planning to enhance the Jesse Jewell-Queen City intersection by adding some right turn lanes. Both actions demonstrate a lack of good overall planning on the part of our city, county and the Georgia Department of Transportation.
The Limestone Greenway project, according to plats provided by the Planning Department, shows a major business development with about 4 acres of office space, and 252 single family apartments. These would share only one exit out to Limestone Parkway. Also included in the development will be a gated community of 29 single family homes with only one exit onto two-lane Lakeview Drive. Lakeview, because of previous poor planning, has limited ability to be widened for additional traffic.
The effort to add right turn lanes to Jesse Jewel-Queen City, while maybe a good idea, will create months of congestion as water and sewer and power facilities are shifted. I suspect the completed construction will only result in a marginal improvement in traffic flow.
Gainesville has grown from a small mill town to a metropolis with industries, major medical facilities and significant education centers. Transportation in the city, however, mostly travels two major roads: Jesse Jewell-Dawsonville and EE Butler-Cleveland highways. It is time to look at the city map and decide what is best for continued growth.
A perimeter expressway has much to recommend it, circling the city and relieving the number of tractor-trailers driving through the center of town. Another consideration is a meaningful public transportation system, including larger buses and more frequent service.
We citizens need to contact our city and county government commissioners and planning boards and demand better transportation before we add large developments or make piecemeal additions to critical thoroughfares.
Howard A. Stacy