Changes considered for downtown Newnan streets
by Sarah Fay Campbell
The consultants working on the Livable Centers Initiative study for Newnan have identified several significant road changes, including extending some streets.
But the most eye-catching proposal is the possibility of returning two-way traffic to the now one-way section of Clark Street between Jackson Street and Jefferson Street in downtown Newnan.
Possibilities for Clark Street were among the items displayed at Monday’s LCI study open house.
The consultants have proposed two different versions of two-way traffic. One would create a standard two-way street but would eliminate the dual left-turn lanes from Jefferson onto Clark. Also under this proposal, left turns from Clark onto Jackson Street (heading north) would be eliminated. Instead, those traveling on Clark Street who want to head north on Jackson (U.S. 29) would have to make their left turn at Carmichael Street, and then take Cavender Street or Elm Street to Jackson Street.
The second option uses a “displaced left” configuration. That means motorists traveling toward Jefferson Street to Bullsboro Drive would be driving on the “wrong” side of the road. This configuration maintains the three westbound lanes, and the left turn from Clark.
A third proposal wouldn’t create two-way traffic. Instead, it would add bike lanes while doing away with the dual left lanes heading north on Jefferson.
Residents who live west of the intersection had asked the consultants to consider adding two-way traffic to the intersection, said John Karnowski, consultant with Foresite Group.
Karnowski said that, of all the possible configurations, “it works better the way it is."
The intersection could be improved with better signage, said Coweta Transportation Manger Tavores Edwards, so that motorists on Jefferson Street can more easily figure out which lane they are supposed to be in.
The LCI study also envisions improvements to Jackson Street and East Washington Street.
Jackson Street between Clark Street and Madison Street is wide, and while people often park along the side of the road, there is no official parking.
Option A would add a “buffered” bike lane, separated from traffic by a gored area, on the west side of the street, connecting the University of West Georgia campus to downtown, and formal on-street parking spaces on the west side. The travel lanes would be reduced to more normal widths. The changes could be implemented inexpensively, as they mostly consist of new road striping.
Option B would add an eight-foot wide, raised multi-use trail to the west side of the street. There would be a five-foot landscape strip between the multi-use trail and the street. Eight-foot wide parallel parking spaces would be added on the east side of the street. There would also be improvements to the existing sidewalk and street crossings — where feasible — to make them handicapped accessible.
East Washington Street, which will connect to the future McIntosh Parkway, also has two potential improvements.
Option A would create buffered bike lanes on both sides of the road, widening the sidewalk on the north side and building a new sidewalk on the south side, upgrading sidewalks and street crossings for handicapped accessibility, and reducing travel lanes to “more typical widths."
Option B would create “sharrow” lanes, which are lanes that can be shared by motor vehicles and bicycles. There would still be the widening of the existing sidewalk and the new sidewalk on the south side, and upgrades to street crossings and sidewalks. There would be a landscape buffer between the road and the sidewalk, and the addition of formal on-street parking on the north side.
Other suggested road changes include:
• Connecting the two sides of Savannah Street over the railroad track. This would help connect the proposed community center at Howard Warner School to downtown Newnan. The plan also shows “streetscape” sidewalk improvements between Howard Warner and downtown.
• Extending Andrews Street from Olive Street to Madison Street on one side, and from its dead end to Augusta Drive or even Bullsboro Drive. The proposal is to also add two-way traffic behind the Coweta Administration Building, making Andrews Street stretch all the way to East Broad Street.
• Returning Murray Street to two-way traffic.
• Investigating signal issues or possible upgrades for the intersection of Posey Place and Jefferson Street, and East Broad Street at Farmer/Pinson streets.
Consultants will now begin formalizing their recommendations for the LCI study, based on input from Monday’s meeting. The final public meeting in the process will be held sometime in April.
For more information about the LCI student, contact Tracy Dunnavant, Newnan planning and zoning director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 770-254-2354, ext. 4.