At the most recent Ball Ground City Council meeting, the council discussed a new idea for a crosswalk on Canton Highway at Lantern Walk Drive.
City Manager Eric Wilmarth said the city has been trying to work with the Georgia Department of Transportation for some time on getting the speed limit reduced in the area for the installation of a crosswalk. However, following recent conversations with GDOT, he said the state agency denied the request to reduce the speed limit or put in a standard crosswalk.
“GDOT will not give a crosswalk on a state highway where there is no signal with a speed limit of 45 mph,” Wilmarth said.
GDOT did put forth an alternate option for the installation of a pedestrian crossing at that location. According to Wilmarth’s presentation during the meeting, GDOT would not have an issue with putting in a hybrid beacon crossing, which would include a painted crosswalk on the road and a traffic arm above the road. Unless someone has pushed the button on either side of the road to receive a safe crossing signal, the beacon on the arm would not be lit up and traffic would flow normally.
“When someone comes up and pushes the crosswalk button, you’ll get flashing yellow lights, just like you would when you prepare to come to a stop sign, and then the red lights would come on,” Wilmarth said. “The red light is treated like any other red light, traffic has to stop. Once the person crosses, the people are then free to go again and it turns back to being blank. So, there’s no light unless someone pushes for the crosswalk.”
The project would cost approximately $50,000, with Wilmarth explaining the city is looking into applying for grant money to help cover the costs. As putting a crosswalk at that location was identified through the Livable Centers Initiative, LCI grants through the Atlanta Regional Commission would be one possible source of money Ball Ground could pursue, Wilmarth said.
“We will do what we can to pursue grant dollars for this,” he said.
Although the city may not have gotten the speed limit reduced and the crosswalk it specifically wanted for the location, Wilmarth did say he felt good about the proposal for a hybrid beacon crossing, as it gives the city an option on the table moving forward and would address an identified need. He also estimated it would be a 12 to 18 month project to complete.
“We know what we need to do to make it happen,” he said. “I think it’s achievable.”