The Jackson City Council approved a bid for a comprehensive traffic study of downtown Jackson during their meeting on Oct. 5. The study is an investigation and analysis of the flow of traffic, parking, pedestrian access, and more around the square in downtown Jackson and two streets deep on either side.
“It’s no secret that traffic in downtown Jackson has become a problem for all of us,” said Mayor Kay Pippin. “We all know the challenges: Third Street, our main street, is actually a state highway; three state highways intersect in the center of our town (Hwys. 16, 36, and 42); our town square was built almost 200 years ago to accommodate horses and buggies on a very small footprint making it difficult to accommodate today’s huge pick-up trucks, SUVs, not to mention the tractor trailer trucks traveling through; thankfully downtown businesses are once again thriving but that progress brings with it the challenge of parking today’s larger vehicles; the need to replace several sidewalks; and pedestrians who are often at risk when crossing streets.
“City staff has constructed turn lanes on Third Street, striped parking spaces, created more handicapped parking spaces, and more to improve our situation, but our challenges are much bigger,” continued Pippin. “While Third Street brings thousands of vehicles and revenue to our city, it also poses challenges by being a state highway. For example, the city simply wanted to install a new sidewalk and landscaping from Peachtree Street to the square, but we were told by GDOT we had to first have an approved plan prepared by a traffic engineer.”
Tim Broyles, owner of State Farm Insurance Agency on the square, said “We welcome the traffic study and the city’s willingness to address the issues we are facing with limited parking, dangerous crosswalks and heavy traffic in downtown, and it can only get worse as the traffic on I-75 increases and travelers, including trucks, look for alternative routes.”
The approved bid was submitted by Croy Engineering Company based in Marietta. The total cost of the study is $29,920. Cory’s work will include an analysis of traffic data, transportation infrastructure, accident data, freight and railroad analysis, multi-modal analysis, land uses, and public input before designing a development plan and identifying a funding and implementation strategy of the recommendations. The study is expected to be completed and presented to the city council in April 2022.
“The City Council and I decided it was time to address the entire situation of downtown traffic,” said Pippin. “We are very appreciative that GDOT is willing to help the city implement recommendations from the completed plan.”