Thursday December 5th, 2019 9:41PM

Dawsonville Hwy. Connectivity Study continues hunt for citizen input

By Marc Eggers Anchor / Reporter

GAINESVILLE – The Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization, along with the City of Gainesville, continued their efforts to get public input on how to deal with current and future traffic needs in the Dawsonville Highway / McEver Road corridor.

The first of two scheduled public open house meetings was held at the Gainesville Public Safety Complex Thursday evening. 

While the number of people attending the meeting was somewhat low (about a dozen attendees), GHMPO Transportation Planning Manager Sam Baker said interest in the study was actually quite high.

“I’m not disappointed,” Baker said regarding the low attendance, “because we are also doing an online survey.  We’re getting the input that we are looking for; this is something to compliment, the online interaction.”

Baker said the GHMPO had received over 450 completed online surveys to date.  He said that the survey would be available until April 6th and everyone was invited to participate.  Click here to link to that survey.

One of the plans under consideration is the construction of bypass road(s) to divert traffic headed to peripheral destinations but now forced to transit the crowded shopping areas.  One of the challenges to that plan is routing a bypass through tracts of land that are rapidly being developed.

Gainesville Public Works Director Chris Rotalsky said that rezoning and development cannot be limited or embargoed by a “the possibility a road might be built on that land in the future.”

“Being a private property you can’t necessarily restrict zoning for the potential of a future project,” Rotalsky explained.  “You cannot restrict zoning on a ‘what-if’ scenario.” 

“Private property is still private property, and people need to have the ability to manage their property as best they see fit; to develop it as best they see fit.”

Doug Forrester lives north of Gainesville; he attended the open house and completed the online survey while there.  He said he deals with the heavy traffic along the corridor every day.  “Because of the congestion on Green Street – you know, we really try to avoid that area if at all possible – and so the alternative is Dawsonville Highway.”

He said he tries to time his trips into town, avoiding the rush hours.

His solution to the traffic problem: “We need to get some sort of loop road built.”

Diane Korzeniewski lives in the heart of the congestion and cannot avoid using the heavily traveled highway.  “I live on Ahaluna (Drive) which is right in the center there.  We certainly experience a whole lot of traffic at just about every time of day.”

“Living there it’s not like I have other options, so you try to work around the timing when it’s the worst but there are many times when it’s bad despite your efforts,” she said.

Details on the date, hours and location of the second open house were not available at this time.

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