Barnett Shoals Road Lane Reconfiguration

Updated 11.7.18

Purpose

The purpose of this temporary project is twofold. First, it provides the community the ability to see a low-cost option for creating safer bicycle connectivity during scheduled repaving, instead of requiring more costly construction. Second, it allows traffic engineers to collect real-time data on traffic operational impacts.

History & Next Steps:

  • On September 4, the Athens-Clarke County Mayor and Commission voted to approve the temporary installation of bicycle facilities on Barnett Shoals Road from College Station Road to Whitehall Road. Staff completed the striping for the temporary project on September 13.
  • Between September 13-25, staff collected public input and traffic data. Traffic data includes vehicular travel times during peak hours, bicycle counts, vehicle counts, and vehicular operating speeds.
  • On October 2, the Mayor and Commission considered the item at their Regular Session voting meeting (Item #22 - Barnett Shoals Reconfiguration - available as Item #22 until Oct. 12 through www.accgov.com/agendas before possibly changing item numbers for the next meeting).
  • On October 2, the Mayor & Commission voted to continue data collection and hold the item for a vote at the November 6 Regular Session to return this section of Barnett Shoals to prior conditions, make the current configuration permanent, or another Commission-defined option.
  • The Mayor & Commission is tentatively scheduled to discuss the item at their October 16 Agenda Setting Session and vote on the item at the November 6 Regular Session. The item will be available for viewing and online comment for those meetings at www.accgov.com/agendas beginning on the afternoon of the Friday prior to the meeting.
  • On November 6, the Mayor & Commission approved a Commission Define Option (CDO) by 5-4 to return this section of Barnett Shoals Rd (from College Station to Whitehall) to the original configuration. The road will be paved this fall with 4 lanes of traffic; the 2-way bike lane will be removed. M&C also approved with this CDO for Public Works to submit a request to the FHWA (Federal Highway Administration) for sharrows to be installed with green paint. If approved, the sharrows would be installed at a later date.
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HISTORY:

  1. On March 6, 2018, the Mayor & Commission (M&C) approved a list of roadways for the 2018 Pavement Maintenance Project. In the associated agenda report, staff committed to completing a road diet analysis on Barnett Shoals Road between Gaines School Road and Whitehall Road.
  2. On January 26, 2018, Transportation & Public Works (T&PW) staff issued a Notice to Proceed to Toole Design Group to evaluate lane reconfiguration on Barnett Shoals Road.
  3. On June 12, 2018, T&PW staff presented a proposed Barnett Shoals Road lane reconfiguration at a scheduled Work Session.
  4. On July 12, 2018, T&PW staff hosted a public forum to solicit comments on the proposed lane reconfiguration to Barnett Shoals Road between Forest Road and Whitehall Road. 

FACTS & ISSUES:

  1. Between Gaines School Road and Whitehall Road, Barnett Shoals Road is a four-lane roadway classified as an urban minor arterial with a typical width of 42 feet.
  2. Barnett Shoals Road is scheduled to be resurfaced in 2018 between Lexington Road and Security Circle through the 2018 Pavement Maintenance Project.
  3. Staff initiated a bicycle facilities study to evaluate the possibility of lane reconfiguration to improve bicycle connectivity on Barnett Shoals Road.
  4. The bicycle facilities study determined that lane reconfiguration between Whitehall Road and Forest Road would improve bicycle connectivity in the area without significant impact to traffic operations.
  5. The lane reconfiguration, as shown in this document, consists of the following:
    • South of Cedar Rock Trace, merge from two to one northbound lane
    • Between Cedar Rock Trace and College Station Road, a three-lane roadway with a northbound lane, southbound lane, two-way center turn lane, and two-way protected bicycle lanes.
    • Between College Station Road and Forest Road, transition from the southern three-lane section with two-way protected bicycle lanes to the northern five-lane section
  6. To facilitate the reconfiguration and create a more logical termini, T&PW staff recommend extending the southern limit of Barnett Shoals Road resurfacing from Security Circle to Whitehall Road.
  7. Staff evaluated an alternate proposal of replacing the existing Barnett Shoals sidewalk with a 10’ multi-use path between College Station Road and Whitehall Road:
    • West side of Barnett Shoals Road: Costs would be approximately $466,000 including $336,000 in construction, $40,000 in design, and $90,000 in right of way. The advantage of this alignment is that there are fewer parcels and the crossings could take place at the signalized intersections.
    • East side of Barnett Shoals Road: Costs would be approximately $396,000 including $264,000 in construction, $32,000 in design, and $100,000 in right of way. The advantage of this alignment is that a crossing is not required by the residents on the east side of Barnett Shoals Road.
  8. Because installation of a multi-use path would require a separate project delivery process, T&PW recommends that bicycle facilities be provided to this section of Barnett Shoals either through the proposed resurfacing lane reconfigurations or as prioritized in the forthcoming Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan which will be presented to M&C during the September / October agenda cycle.

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