Attendance slim for first transportation meetings

by Sarah Fay Campbell

The crowds were small at the first two public meetings on Coweta County's update to the Joint Comprehensive Transportation Plan, but those who turned out were full of questions about the proposed projects in the plan.

Meetings were held Thursday for the First District at the East Coweta Senior Center in Senoia and for the Fourth District at Central Library.

Three meetings remain: Tuesday at the Newnan Centre and Madras Middle School, and Thursday at Grantville Library.

Meetings will be from 6 to 8 p.m. with a presentation beginning at 6:45.

Cowetans can come to any of the meetings, regardless of what district they live in. There are large display maps showing the locations and types of projects, and consultants will be available to talk one-on-one about projects.

There will also be a virtual open house online once all the materials are uploaded.

Cowetans are asked to fill out a survey to get their thoughts on various proposed projects, and to tell the consultants what they think are the most important transportation needs.

The survey is very important, said said Rod Wilburn of J.R. Wilburn and Associates, the consultants putting together the plan.

At the Fourth District meeting, the question-and -answer session after the presentation lasted until 8 p.m. The compre hens ive t r a ns portation plan is a joint project of Coweta and all its municipalities.

The consultants doing the plan update have been studying Coweta's current transportation infrastructure and proposed future projects. Now, the public input is the beginning of the recommendation phase. The plan is for projects through 2040. 'We will not be placing the projects into specific time periods yet, nor will we necessarily be making a final decision in this task about what projects will be included and what will not,' Wilburn said at the Fourth District meeting.

Everyone at the meeting received paperwork identifying numerous proposed projects, including road projects, bicycle/pedestrian projects and even potential transmit projects. The project that got the most interest at the First

District meeting in Senoia was a proposed Hwy. 16 East Bypass. Hwy. 16 East will have to eventually be upgraded, but there have been concerns about the ability to four-lane it through Senoia and Turin. A four-lane bypass has been discussed to solve that problem.

'Some think that's not a good idea,' said Tavores Edwards, Coweta's transportation manager. There were concerns about the economic impact it could have on the towns. 'They want to have economic development,' Edwards said.

It's currently in the plan for 2030. If built, the bypass would be expensive because of all the land that would be needed.

'We definitely want people to tell us what they want' as a solution for Hwy. 16, said Melanie Orr with J.R. Wilburn. 'I don't think anybody really knows what to do' about that issue.

Orr, who lives in Coweta, said she thinks people care about future transportation projects but they won't necessarily come to meetings about them.

Sheryl Vasiliadis said the meeting was about what she expected. It's good to be able to see the proposed projects on a map, she said.

'It was very good. Very informative,' Jodie Dallas said of the meeting. 'I got what I came for.'

The other major topic of discussion at the First District meeting was the proposed roundabout for the intersection of Hwys. 16 and 54, said Coweta spokeswoman Patricia Palmer. The people who spoke about it were not in favor of the roundabout, she said. Some of the other major proposed new road projects include the 'Madras Connector' that would go from the proposed Amlajack Boulevard interchange on Interstate 85 to U.S. 29, the McIntosh Parkway Extension from East Washington Street to the Newnan Crossing Bypass, the Andrew Street Extension connecting Bullsboro Drive to East Broad Street, and a U.S. 29 connector road in Moreland from U.S. 29 to Bethlehem Church Road.

The survey questions include:

• Where are the biggest roadways issues, related to operations or safety in Coweta County? Do these projects shown here address those concerns? What else should be done?

• What are the biggest bike or pedestrian issues in Coweta county? Do the projects here address those concerns? What else should be done?

• What are the biggest transit issues in Coweta County? Do the projects shown here address those concerns? What else should be done?

• What would you consider to be the three most immediate transportation needs in the county?

• What three improvements would you consider important, but for long-term implementation?

• Are there any projects listed that no longer need to be considered? If so, what are they?

• Please list any comments regarding any aspect of the Coweta county Joint Comprehensive Transportation Plan Update.

Surveys can be mailed to Leahvaughan@SycamoreConsulting.net.



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