Lavonia DDA Member Presents Increased Safety Suggestions for Pedestrians Walking Downtown

Lavonia City fathers are taking into consideration some safety suggestions by Downtown Development Authority member and Lavonia dentist Dr. Dale Stone.

Dr. Stone is a new member of the Lavonia Downtown Development Authority and brought before the City Council and Mayor Monday evening some ideas for making walking in the downtown area safer.

As an avid walker in the evenings, Stone first pointed out that some areas of downtown Lavonia do not have proper cross walks for both pedestrians to use and motorists to see.

“We’ve got a lot of traffic downtown, particularly at lunchtime and if you mix that with people walking between stores and restaurants, it’s a dangerous situation,” he pointed out. “I want to propose to the City restriping the crosswalks and parking areas that we currently have, and also adding new crosswalks to areas in your handouts I’ve highlighted in red that currently don’t have crosswalks.”

Stone noted there are two particular crosswalks in the downtown area that he said are dangerous and offered some ideas to enhance their visibility.

“There are two crosswalks that are dangerous, crossing on the restaurant side of West Ave, across Grogan St., and across Highway 59. We’ve only got one pedestrian sign there…And I was hoping we could enhance the visibility of those crosswalks, maybe with a flashing light or different colored paint on the road or different colored striping, just something that would catch your eye and slow people down,” he said.

Mayor Courtney Umbehant thanked Stone for his suggestions but said any change to one of the crosswalks, the one on 59 would have to go through the Georgia Department of Transportation because that’s a state highway.

“We’ve already approached the DOT about a flashing light there and were turned down previously,” Umbehant said. “And when Charles and I met with the DOT last month we brought that up to them again. They seemed to indicate that maybe they could work something out for the flashing light. We are cautiously optimistic that that could be addressed.”

The mayor added that he would bring Stone’s suggestions to the DOT again to see to what extent they would allow the City to address those.

Umbehant said restriping the parking areas is already on the road department’s list of projects downtown.

Later in the City Council meeting, City Manager Charles Cawthon noted that while G-DOT has banned using brick pavers in crosswalks, there might be another way to achieve something similar.

“I have had conversations today with Jason Dykes the District Safety Engineer. He did say they’re no longer allowing brick but we may be able to present a design that’s stamped concrete that has a brick look to it. As long as it can pass certain criteria we may be able to do that. So, I’ll follow up with him and work on that,” Cawthon said.

Councilman Eddie Floyd added that there needs to be some kind of sidewalk or pedestrian walk from the restaurant side of Highway 59 to the train depot.

The council did not vote on Stone’s suggestions but said they are aware of the problem and would continue working on downtown pedestrian safety issues.