By: Mariel Carbone
June 19, 2017
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV)-- Changes could be on the way for a busy stretch of road in Tallahassee.
The Capital Region Transportation Planning Agency is working to complete a traffic study in Midtown, with a focus on Thomasville Road.
"Midtown is becoming a regional destination, so to speak," said Greg Slay, Executive Director of the CRTPA. "So in terms of scale that we look at, it's definitely one of the important factors and one of the more heavily traveled areas that we have in our entire region."
Slay noted road congestion and traffic backups as reasons for the study.
The study will take about six months to complete, and is currently in its technical data collection phase. Right now, the CRTPA is using Bluetooth technology to determine traffic patterns. It'll also use three former studies including the CRTPA's Connections 2040 Regional Mobility Plan, the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency Community Enhancement Project and an FDOT safety study to determine how to move forward.
Changes are welcomed by many business owners along the strip of road.
"It's like playing Frogger to get from the parking lot across Thomasville Road sometimes because cars are flying," said Julie Puckett, Manager at the Orange Theory Fitness in Midtown. "You'd think it was a race track on Thomasville Road."
She like to see changes to ease speeding, and noted Gaines Street as a model that keeps drivers moving slowly.
For Renee Miller, President of City Walk Urban Mission which runs the City Walk Thrift Store on Thomasville, it's an issue of parking and limited vision for the driveways of businesses. She noted that the mailbox outside of her store has been hit at least 20 times over the past two years because there is no left hand turn on her side of the street,
causing cars to make unsafe turns, running into it.
"We maybe just need a left hand turn lane, maybe some signs that say 'hidden entrance,'" she said.
Her biggest suggestion is more parking lot space.
For right now, Slay acknowledged that the study is only looking at traffic and does not delve into the parking issue. However Tallahassee City Commissioner Nancy Miller noted that parking space is a necessity in Midtown, especially as it is growing to become a walking community.
The CRTPA will consider several potential operational and safety improvements and evaluate them for feasibility. Those include
roundabouts, one-way streets, two-way streets, re-routing, traffic calming measures, speed limit modifications, street lighting and bicycle, pedestrian and transit options.
Following the six month study, the agency will look for input from the public and local business owners to determine how to move forward.
"Just with so many near misses, of 'almost' accidents right here in front of our stores, we've got to do something to make it safer," said Renee Miller.