Friday November 27th, 2015 9:24PM

2040 transportation plan gets another public review

By Jerry Gunn Reporter
GAINESVILLE - Fifty Gainesville area citizens Thursday night were asked what their top regional transportation planning priorities are and how to pay for them at a community meeting at the Hall Government Center. The meeting was a follow-up to a session held June 5th hosted by the Gainesville Hall County Metropolitan Planning Organization.<br /> <br /> John McGuidwin told consultants he wants a Gainesville bypass, but not one that cuts through neighborhoods and would disrupt the community.<br /> <br /> "You need a by-pass outside the city, not bringing it into the city," McGuidwin said. "If you want to keep the community the way it is you don't want to congest it even more by bringing more traffic in."<br /> <br /> McGuidwin said he's opposed to a plan that would connect Thompson Bridge Road to Dawsonville Highway and then to McEver Road. He favors transportation bonds or a local option sales tax as a revenue source. Connie Propes agreed, saying the planned route would be destructive.<br /> <br /> "Doing something like that, you have totally destroyed your residential neighborhood," she said. "They're talking about running it through Sardis in that direction, and that makes a whole lot more sense."<br /> <br /> She said tolls and revenue from impact fees could be possible revenue sources for road improvements.<br /> <br /> Brian Bolick with Pond and Company Engineers and Planners from Norcross said community input is critical in identifying transportation needs.<br /> <br /> "Any successful transportation plan has to be a balance between what the technical analysis is and what the needs are of the community," Bolick said.<br /> <br /> Bolick added that Pond wants to know how residents want to see their transportation dollars invested and what revenue sources they would prefer. Those revenue options included a local sales tax, state sales tax, property tax increases, an increased fuel tax, borrowing by using transportation bonds, and tolls or user fees.<br /> <br /> Pond identified ten areas of transportation need based on previous community input and technical analysis and meeting participants were invited to prioritize them. They included a bicycle network, dealing with congestion, system maintenance, I-985/State Route 365 safety and efficient connection to I-85 and State Route 400.<br /> <br /> Also included was improved movement within Hall and Jackson County, enhanced connections to commercial and industrial areas, as well as improving vehicle movement around Gainesville, commuter transit connection to Metro Atlanta, and local transit improvement including pedestrian access.
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