The meetings will be held at 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the Griffin Regional Welcome Center, 143 North Hill St. They are being held at two times to allow business owners and other interested parties opportunities to attend and provide input on the proposed improvements.
As part of the city’s Livable Centers Initiative plans for North Hill Street, the city is investigating the impact of reducing the number of through lanes from two to one along the corridor between Poplar and Chappell streets. The project is designed to improve pedestrian and vehicular safety along the corridor.
The proposal allows for one 12-foot wide travel lane each way, increasing parking stalls from 13 feet to a standard depth of 18 feet, which would prevent the current overhang into the travel lane, provide improved reaction time and maneuverability and allow for sidewalks to be widened five feet to accommodate outside dining and retail opportunities.
Anthony Dukes, the transportation planner for both the City of Griffin and Spalding County told the Downtown Development Authority last month that the state Department of Transportation had some positive response to the request for the lane reduction on Hill Street, but it would not be until Georgia Highway 155 is relocated off of Hill Street.
“Because of the trucks,” Dukes said, “until we can get it relocated, some of the intersections will have to remain as they are.”
City Manager Kenny Smith said the relocation project is currently listed as long range by the state DOT at the Griffin Main Street Advisory Board’s called meeting Thursday, Main Street board member Paul Cropsey was also concerned about the plan, noting the advisory board had voted a few years to recommend it remain two travel lanes each way.
Dukes said last month GDOT would still prefer parallel parking, as opposed to the angled parking, which is preferred by the city and downtown businesses. But once it’s not a state highway and there’s not truck traffic, there is not as much objection.
Funding for the project, Dukes said last month, is not online for construction until 2015, so by then there may be funding for Highway 155 to be relocated.
The current proposed relocation route would have Highway 155 go straight down McDonough Road to Georgia Highway 16 and out to U.S. Highway 19/41, which would remove the state highway designation for Jackson Road, Broadway, Hill Street, as well as remove Highway 155 from Zebulon Road, where it changes from South Hill Street down to Ingle’s, Smith said.
The proposed re-routing was opposed by many of the residents along the McDonough Road area with concerns about the truck traffic, visibility, safety and the possible loss of their yards or homes if the road is widened. The relocation was one of the projects in the failed Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax last year.