Exciting changes are on tap for a popular Thomasville road. Changes to traffic flow patterns, improved pedestrian and bicycle access, on street parking, and overall improved aesthetics are planned for the West Jackson Street corridor, a move City officials say will translate into an economic boost for business and property owners.
“The West Jackson Street corridor is an area that has needed improvement for some time,” said Jerry Pionessa, City Engineer. “Redesigning the aesthetics and traffic flow patterns will give us the opportunity to create some wonderful benefits for our community. It will also provide a nice entrance to our city for visitors traveling to Thomasville from the south.”
“Improved bicycle and pedestrian walkways and paths will be a key enhancement in this area and tie into work already underway in other areas of Thomasville,” said Brian Herrmann, City Planner. “The multi-use trail is intended to increase walkability in our community and connect the various parks and civic sites throughout the city. Improving this corridor will allow for a safer environment for our bicycle and pedestrian traffic.”
“We’ve studied the area extensively, including current traffic flow patterns, and feel a better use of space can leverage new investment and greatly improve this area of our community,” said Pionessa. “These public improvements will increase private property values and open up the corridor to new uses and types of development that we’ve not currently experienced here before, and typically locate elsewhere.”
A key element to the redesign plan for West Jackson Street will be traffic realignment. Currently, multiple lanes exist. “Studies indicate that the road is designed to handle nearly four times its current capacity. The new plan will maintain necessary capacity while requiring fewer traffic lanes and providing additional choices for how people wish to access the corridor,” said Herrmann.
“Realigning the current roadway allows us to better utilize the space available in these areas,” said Pionessa. “On West Jackson Street, reducing the number of traffic lanes gives us an opportunity to improve bicycle and pedestrian access and include on street parking and improved aesthetics and greenspace.”
The enhancements planned for the West Jackson Street corridor, together with other changes recommended as part of the recent opportunity zone improvements, have the potential to impact property and business owners positively.
“Improving the accessibility to both pedestrian and bicycle traffic gives property owners new opportunities to develop their property. Business owners can also take advantage of increased foot traffic in the area, all of which we hope will be a positive for economic development,” said Herrmann.
The West Jackson Street corridor improvements will be conducted in phases. The first phase will include road restriping, reconfiguring existing traffic lanes and completing the multi-use trail crosswalk. Phase I will begin in 2017. Prior to beginning Phase I, Pionessa said that the City will address rough areas on West Jackson Street in the downtown brick-paved section.
“There are some uneven and rough patches in the downtown brick-paved area that we will smooth out before we begin the additional West Jackson Street improvements,” Pionessa said.
The 2012 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or SPLOST, will provide the necessary funding for the West Jackson Street corridor improvement project, with Phase I funding to be included in the City of Thomasville’s 2017 budget process. Citizens can learn more about the planned improvements at a community open house that will be held June 2, 2016, from 4 pm – 6 pm at the future home of Dixon’s Pest Control located at 1328 West Jackson Street (across the street from Rumbles).