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Decatur kicks off Adair Street traffic-calming initiative

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Decatur kicks off Adair Street traffic-calming initiative

The city of Decatur is exploring traffic-calming solutions for Adair Street, including adding a raised intersection at Adair Street and West Howard Street. Photo courtesy of the city of Decatur.

Decatur, GA — The city of Decatur is exploring traffic-calming options for Adair Street.

The project was one of several discussed at the recent city commission retreat held in Young Harris, Ga. on Jan. 5 and 6.

The city held a workshop on Dec. 13, 2022, to kick off the initiative. The city and its planning consultant, Atkins, are working to develop options for traffic-calming for Adair Street between West Ponce de Leon Avenue and West Howard Avenue, according to the city’s website.

“It’s a project that results from the relocation of the Atlanta Avenue railroad crossing. As part of that process, we plan to do a traffic-calming program on Adair Street,” Capital Projects Manager Hugh Saxon said.

At the workshop, residents were able to provide suggestions, ask questions and help develop the plan. Saxon said the biggest concern mentioned at the meeting was cut-through traffic and the condition of the street.

“A number of them were concerned about cut-through traffic,” Saxon said. “I think we’ve got more complaints about the condition of the street – potholes, steel plates, pavement failures. There’s been a lot of repairs made to it, like water and sewer repairs.”

Other areas of concern are traffic speeds and volumes, promoting safety, and promoting multi-modal initiatives.

Another workshop will be held on March 14 and in April. The final recommendations will be made in May and be incorporated into the Local Maintenance Improvement Grant. The proposal would then be implemented in the fall.

The city has not presented a proposal yet, but traffic-calming techniques were shared at the workshop. Those include speed tables, raised medians, raised crosswalks, traffic circles, a reduced turning radius, lane and intersection narrowing, mid-block narrowing and chicanes.

“The most significant thing we are looking at there is a traffic table across the whole intersection at Adair and Howard as a traffic-calming element. We’re really trying to get speeds physically, not just posted, but down to 25 to 30 miles per hour across the whole corridor,” Saxon said at the recent city commission retreat.

The city commission approved a project budget of $35,000 and an agreement in the amount of $24,500 with Atkins North America in March 2022 to look at potential traffic-calming measures for Adair Street.

In other city of Decatur news:

– The city is working to develop the construction documents for the Atlanta Avenue project. Saxon said the city is about 75% completed with the process and is waiting on a permit from CSX to do soil and geo-tech testing on their right-of-way.

“We anticipate getting that done shortly. Hopefully we’ll have the plans completely and submitted to both GDOT and CSX by the second quarter of this year. If everything goes well, we’ll go out to bid in the fourth quarter of 2023,” Saxon said.

The basic project design was approved in March 2022. City Manager Andrea Arnold added that construction would begin in the first quarter of 2024.

“The general purpose of making these changes to Atlanta Avenue is to improve safety for children, pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists, reduce traffic speeds, improve accessibility over the rail crossings, provide access for public safety and school vehicles, maintain connectivity and reduce signal delays and maintain acceptable traffic flow,” Saxon previously said.

Other goals of the project include providing green space, simplifying the geometry of the intersection, keep the number of railroad crossing at one, and prioritizing traffic-calming, especially along West Howard Avenue.

“It’ll be interesting to see if we ever really move forward with getting rid of the planters prior to having a plan for permanent improvements,” Saxon said at the retreat. “I think they were effective.”

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