Traffic engineers suggest moving forward with Druid Park 'traffic calming'

Sources tell News 12 that $2.3 million in SPLOST funding has been identified to narrow the lanes from four to two lanes. (WRDW-TV / April 24, 2012)

Sources tell News 12 that $2.3 million in SPLOST funding has been identified to narrow the lanes from four to two lanes. (WRDW-TV / April 24, 2012)

News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, April 25, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Augusta traffic engineers intend to move forward with a compromise "traffic calming" plan for Druid Park Avenue.

Paine College leaders took to the airwaves pushing their calls to close down portions of the busy Druid Park Avenue from Laney Walker to Central Avenue. The calls come after the neighboring Georgia Health Sciences University sealed a deal to narrow lanes of Laney Walker through its campus.

"Is this an 'if they can do it ... we want to do it, too' type of thing?" we asked Paine College Vice President Brandon Brown.

"No. Chris, I think you have been in that corridor, and I have seen you cross the street and almost get hit by a car," Brown replied.

It happened more than a year ago when the college first suggested the closure. Our cameras tried crossing and just dodged a speeding truck. We tried to cross a second time, and despite visible stop for pedestrian signs, cars zoomed right through.

"We're adding a new health education complex. We'll have a lot of activities," Brown said. "The Chapel is one of the most-utilized buildings in the city. So we're going to take our argument to the officials and say this is a safety issue."

Only our cameras were rolling as traffic engineers wrapped up a meeting in the president's conference room. They suggested they have settled on a roundabout at Druid and Laney Walker. They also want to narrow Druid Park Avenue from four to two lanes.

"We've got the SPLOST money to start design," said Traffic Engineer Steve Cassell. "We may move forward to get designs and start getting some firms on and come up with some concepts."

This all comes as the college announces more growth.

"We are in the process of looking to build a 100-bed dorm," Brown said.

The college hopes to have the road improvements done by early next year. The talk of new dorms comes after students complained of mold on campus. The new dorms could be built within the next year.


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