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City of Decatur publishes transportation plan ahead of Talley Street School opening

Crime and public safety Decatur

City of Decatur publishes transportation plan ahead of Talley Street School opening

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The 2nd Floor Hallway of the new Talley Street School. Image obtained via a community newsletter.
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With the new Talley Street Upper Elementary School set to open on Aug. 1, the city has been preparing a transportation plan for students, parents and local commuters.

Located on Talley Street off of South Columbia Drive, the school is in an area with highly congested traffic. Last fall, the the Decatur City Commission began a transportation study to determine how best to handle traffic control in the area.

Then, in May, the commission discussed a new $850,000 multi-use path (as a part of the pedestrian and bicycle network) to run along South Columbia Street from Talley Street, but originally determined the path could not be entirely completed before the school year began.

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As a result, several parents reached out to the city commission in June to request that more be done to improve safety in the area. The city responded with an updated transportation plan that includes segments of the multi-use path being completed before Aug. 1, new school zone signage and three new crossing guards.

Additionally, an all-way stop sign has been installed at the intersection of Talley Street and South Columbia Drive. Eventually, that stop sign will be replaced with a traffic signal.

By Aug. 1, a 300-foot section of the multi-use path on South Columbia should be completed, the city said. The rest of the trail to Legacy Park will require a separate contract but is expected to be completed by early 2020.

Talley Street itself will be essentially a one-way street, with drivers only being allowed to enter the street from South Columbia, not Sams Street. Left turns out will not be permitted for parents exiting the school’s drop-off zone.

Image provided to Decaturish.

The city will also put up signage to warn drivers about increased traffic that’s expected to occur once school starts, according to Cheryl Burnette, the assistant director of Decatur Active Living.

“I think the city has done everything we can do,” Burnette said. “It’s a work in progress, but we are well aware of all that needs to be done to keep students safe, and we’ve done a lot to make sure that happens.”

According to Courtney Burnett, director of community and government relations for the City Schools of Decatur, CSD has worked closely with the city government to implement safety measures.

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“We’ve been at the table together [with the city] to make certain decisions,” she said. “Safety is obviously the top priority for everybody, and we’re working to make sure both families and residents can get around when school starts.”

The Talley Street School’s website contains updates about transportation logistics, including a comprehensive map indicating the CSD- and city-approved safe routes to school. Bill Heaton, the new Talley Street prinicipal, also has a Facebook page with more updates.

In the meantime, Burnett recommends parents prepare for the new transportation logistics like they would at the start of any school year.

“Even though this is a new school in a new location, this is how it generally goes on the first week anyway, with lots more traffic to deal with,” she said. “Look at the maps the city put out ahead of time. Attend safe routes to school meetings. Making a plan ahead of time and know before you go which way you want to go. Just have patience.”

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