The city recently obtained public input on a project to improve Main Street, and the design that emerged called for a reduction of lanes between Old Milton Parkway and Vaughn Drive and then a simple four-lane section with no center turn lane from Vaughn to Windward Parkway.
This design also includes improved sidewalks, on-street parking in some areas, street trees and shared bicycle facilities.
This concept is in contrast to the original concept plan developed by GDOT which consisted of a four-lane section throughout the corridor with medians for access control and less emphasis on pedestrian improvements.
Though the concept was approved last week by Council with a 7-0 vote to meet GDOT’s April 24 deadline, the plan is not final. During the workshop meeting, Mayor David Belle Isle said the city can always reject what the state’s transportation department brings back for approval in the future.
He also encouraged residents to bring any concerns to council.
“Main Street has become great, despite lack of planning. We’ve never really intended anything specific for Main Street. It’s just kind of, over time, become what it is,” he said.
Belle Isle went on to say if the city’s vision for Main Street and GDOT’s line up, “I think this is an opportunity to put significant capital into making it the beautiful boulevard that people want to travel on” — remarking on the $70 million of state and federal dollars that have been designated for the project. Public works director Pete Sewczwicz said GDOT has changed their tune since the days when they wanted a four-lane road with a prominent median that would block access to residential communities.
“GDOT wants to move this project along. They’re leaning on us,” he said. “We are intimately involved in the design process.”
Also speaking about medians, community development director Richard McLeod said the city staff heard “loud and clear” from residents that “they don’t want their access prohibited.”
He said the medians in the concept may be, in many areas along Main Street, just a landscape island that will not block turning access.