School system asks for revision on traffic ordinance

Published 6:00 pm Thursday, February 13, 2020

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The Troup County School System is asking the city of LaGrange to rethink a proposal to flip the flow of traffic near where students are dropped off and picked up near LaGrange High School.

The LaGrange City Council had a first reading of an ordinance Tuesday that would flip the one-way streets of Marshall and West Bacon Streets outside of LaGrange High School.

Currently, access to LaGrange High School is typically through Ridley Avenue, turning left on Highland Avenue, then left on Marshall and left again on West Bacon, taking motorists back to Ridley.

The ordinance was in response to the LaGrange Police Department that suggested motorists travel west on West Bacon Street and north on Marshall. Highland Avenue would remain a two-way street.

However, John Radcliffe, assistant superintendent of maintenance and operations with TCSS, said flipping the traffic could create more safety concerns.

He said the current setup has vehicles turning left on Marshall from Highland, and the students get out on the passenger side of the car, which faces the sidewalk. If it’s flipped around, the students would then exit the vehicle on the roadside.

“At the other sites, we do everything we can to stop that from happening because people get in a rush and not paying attention, and we’ve had some near misses at other schools,” Radcliffe said.

Additionally, Radcliffe said two special needs buses drop off in that area, which is designed to drop off toward the sidewalk.

If flipped, it would create the same problem of students having to cross the street.

Radcliffe said it takes about four to five minutes for each student in a wheelchair to use the lift when unloading from the bus.

He said this change could cause the school system to have those buses unloaded on Greenwood Street, where the majority of the other buses unload.

Radcliffe asked if there could be a conversation between the city, the police department and school system to look at the situation again and see if there’s an alternative to flipping the one-way streets.

LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton said the city would move forward with the first reading and there could be changes made before the city officially votes on the matter.