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County to finalize comprehensive transportation plan

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

Starting this week, Clayton County's Transportation and Development Department will seek the advice of the community in finalizing its Comprehensive Transportation Plan (CTP). The 30-year master plan aims to address the county's looming transportation problems.

The first public meeting will take place Thursday, May 15, at the Virginia Burton Gray Recreation Center, located at 1475 East Fayetteville Road in Riverdale.

Additional meetings will take place on Monday, May 19, at the Carl Rhodenizer Recreation Center, located at 3499 Rex Road in Rex; Tuesday, May 20, at Lovejoy Middle School, located at 1588 Lovejoy Road in Hampton; and May 22, at the Jim Huie recreation Center, located at 9045 Tara Blvd. in Jonesboro.

All meetings will be held from 6 to 8 p.m.

Janide Sidifall, project manager for the consulting team overseeing the CTP, said the meetings will serve to help finalize discussions from September, when the team originally sought the advice of the public.

"Since September, we've done a lot of technical analysis and we have spoken to people in different venues all over the county," said Sidifall. "We've tried to come up with some recommendations and improvements, and that is what we will be sharing at these meetings."

In 2005, 1.1 million vehicluar trips were made to and from Clayton County. The CTP consultant team projects that by 2030, the number will increase 16 percent to 1.28 million. The meetings will address cost-effective solutions to the increasing demands on Clayton County roads.

Sidifall said the discussions will include, but not be limited to, proposed solutions to connectivity problems, creating networks of sidewalks, and increasing pedestrian access to Tara Boulevard.

"One of the issues that people talk about the most is just having choices," said Sidifall. "People are trying to find ways to connect to where they need to go, without having to be in their cars all the time. They're the affected community, and they should have an opportunity to have a voice, especially at the planning stage."

Jeff Metarko, interim director of Transportation and Development, said having community input is critical at this stage of the CTP.

"You can come up with a boatload of solutions, but what is an acceptable solution for the community?" asked Metarko. "This is a step along the way for the community to voice what they want to see. If they won't stand behind the project, there is no point of putting it in the plan."

Metarko said the results of the CTP will act as the "catalyst" for the county to receive state and federal funding for future transportation projects. For more information, visit www.co.clayton.ga.us/tnd/CTP.