Augusta traffic engineers: 'Increase the safety' on Druid Park Avenue

SPLOST funding

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 / Tuesday, April 24, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Paine College leaders say Druid Park Avenue is becoming a safety hazard.

Traffic engineers agree something has to be done. They want the city to close portions of the road from Laney Walker to Central Avenue.

"We want to listen to what are the possibilities," said Paine College Administrator Brandon Brown. "Certainly, we would love to see a road closure."

Campus leaders say now that construction has begun on the new gym and health and learning center, traffic will only increase.

"This is where most of our pedestrians in the city are crossing," said Traffic Engineer Steve Cassell. "So [when it comes to] pedestrian safety, we really need to start addressing that and give it more of a campus feel."

The compromise option calls for a roundabout along Druid Park Avenue at Laney Walker. Sources tell News 12 that $2.3 million in SPLOST funding has been identified to narrow the lanes from four to two lanes.

"A traffic calming project along Druid Park is something that I think we need to look at," said Mayor Deke Copenhaver.

Copenhaver said the project should be similar to the planned improvements along Laney Walker on the Georgia Health Sciences University campus.

"It's safety," Copenhaver said. "It's to make these campuses more pedestrian friendly, which is something I think we need to do."

Closing the road is being called a dead end, but engineers support taking action.

"We have a lot of students out there," Cassell said. "We don't want to see anybody get hit. Let's increase the safety."

College leaders admit they wanted to take a different road.

"But we're willing to go to the table to see what is comparable for all parties to walk away feeling that we all have a win," Brown said.

College leaders, commissioners and traffic engineers are expected to meet Wednesday to put together a formal plan. The city administrator says a vote could happen as early as next week.


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