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Plans call for additional bike lanes

Posted: March 23, 2012 - 8:31am  |  Updated: March 28, 2012 - 12:03am
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Photo by Jenna Martin                                                                                                 Janice Bledsoe, of Martinez, looks at a map of potential walking options in the Augusta area during an Evans meeting, where a draft promoting a better walking and bicycling network was unveiled Thursday.  Photo by Jenna Martin                                                                                                 Janice Bledsoe, of Martinez, looks at a map of potential walking options in the Augusta area during an Evans meeting, where a draft promoting a better walking and bicycling network was unveiled Thursday.
Photo by Jenna Martin Janice Bledsoe, of Martinez, looks at a map of potential walking options in the Augusta area during an Evans meeting, where a draft promoting a better walking and bicycling network was unveiled Thursday.
Photo by Jenna Martin Janice Bledsoe, of Martinez, looks at a map of potential walking options in the Augusta area during an Evans meeting, where a draft promoting a better walking and bicycling network was unveiled Thursday.

Connecting existing bicycle and pedestrian networks across the Augusta region is key to a new plan unveiled at a Thursday meeting.

The Augusta Regional Transportation Study revealed the new draft during a public meeting in Evans that suggested ways to improve, expand and make bike and pedestrian pathways more user-friendly.

The draft is an update to the regional bicycle and pedestrian plan that was adopted in 2003.

The long-range plan also looks at new policies and programs to promote a safe and inviting network of biking and pedestrian routes.

Consultants John Cock and Jean Crowther with Alta Planning and Design gave a presentation that addressed the need for safe biking and walking options and the benefits of such activity.

While multiuse paths were recommended on sections of Hereford Farm Road and William Few Parkway, targeted areas for striped bike lanes were suggested down North and South Belair Roads as well as Lewiston Road.

Prioritized walkways in Columbia County include areas around Westmont Elementary School in addition to busy portions of Washington and Columbia Roads and on Katherine Street in Grovetown to Gordon Highway.

“The infrastructure is the piece of this that is going to take the longest,” said Cock, noting that adding signage and passing ordinances are ways to start the process now. “It’ll take time and political will.”

The ARTS area includes Richmond County and portions of Aiken, Columbia and Edgefield counties.

About 25 people attended the meeting.

“It’s something that’s very much a part of my family’s lives,” Sharon Fausnight said of biking and walking.

For 15 years, the Evans resident has lived in the Bridlewood subdivision off Furys Ferry Road that has a posted speed limit of 55 mph.

With no sidewalks in her neighborhood, Fausnight said she is forced to drive her family to places such as Savannah Rapids Pavilion or the North Augusta Greeneway to exercise in a safe environment.

“We’ve been kind of trapped in our subdivision,” she said.

Before the draft goes before the ARTS policy committee for final approval, it will be sent off to the Georgia Department of Transportation.

The plan could be adopted as early as April.

Those who could not attend will have a second opportunity from 5-7 p.m. today at Aiken Technical College. More information is available at www.
bikewalkarts.com.

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Comments (3)

resident

Locations

Sure now they talk of some busy roads needing this. If you take a look the sidewalks,bike paths,golfcart drive areas and basically only near Rich Money neighborhoods. You will get excuses from comissioners like well there are almost 600 homes in that area and it is a large part of my district. Here is the truth in that maybe 600 homes, how much is it used ???? Very little and neighborhoods that have low $100K valued home get ignored because we are not overpriced snooty areas. Yes I am bitter when I know areas that would utilize this more than the money areas where kids just drive golf carts, 4 wheelers and other things in the road with no regards for safety because their parents have money and infuence. Those are facts!!! Savannah Rapids good place for this, Columbia Rd maybe but living off Columbia foot traffic is low as is bicycle traffic most prefer even if painted lanes existed to stay off roads bit truck drive on and are 5 lanes wide.

paperwren

Bike Paths

I agree with Ms. Fausnight. Unless you are one of the lucky ones whose neighborhood connects to the sidewalk bike paths, you have to load your family and bikes in the car to find a safe place to ride. Even for those who can use the paths, they still don't connect to popular areas in Evans. They stop suddenly on Furys Ferry (before reaching the largest neighborhoods) and on Evans to Lock (before reaching areas like the library and the new Towne Center Park). It is currently impossible to bike or walk to the new park and library safely unless you live in one of two neighborhoods beside the library. I know a lot of moms who've commented on the fact that they would like to be able to walk to the new library with their kids, but it is just too dangerous to go down Furys Ferry and North Belair.

I would love to see the sidewalk paths continue down Furys Ferry Road to Mullikin or Hereford Farm, over to North Belair, and to the end of Evans to Lock. So many neighborhoods could then bike or walk to the new Towne Center Park in Evans. As of right now, it is extremely dangerous to get on a bike from a neighborhood on Furys Ferry or North Belair. Furys Ferry near Mullikin is a 2 lane road with a posted speed limit of 55 mph, and there is a steep non-mowed slope on either side of the road. People often try to pass cars turning into neighborhoods by driving off of the road. No one walks down Furys Ferry because of this. Just making this area more pedestrian/bike friendly could allow hundreds of families in Evans neighborhoods to be outdoors walking and biking more. It would also allow families in that area to bike or walk to the library and Columbia County events at the park. Our county has done a great job listening to its residents, and I truly hope they will consider a separate walking/bike path so we can enjoy our area even more.

Craig Spinks

Gas @ $10/gallon

Inasmuch as gas has about as much chance of dipping to $2.50/gallon as The Divorcer of the Terminally-ill Wife does of being elected POTUS, even we rich folks in CC would be prudent to ready ourselves to use alternate means of transport.

On the other hand, when our county's highest elected official has the nickname "Double," in considering governmental talk about sidewalks and bikepaths in our county, we would be prudent to consider the sage advice of our late USAG John Mitchell, "Don't listen to what we say; watch what we do."

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

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