One-way streets, community in schools on tap for LaGrange City Council meeting

Published 7:02 pm Monday, February 24, 2020

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The flow of traffic where kids are picked up from LaGrange High School will be a point of discussion Tuesday during the LaGrange City Council’s work session and business meeting.

In January, the LaGrange Police Department proposed an ordinance that flips 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.

LaGrange Police Lt. Mark Kostial said there are times from about 2:40 p.m. to 3:20 p.m., where traffic gridlocks and residents on Highland Street are unable to access or leave their driveways.

At the most recent council work session, 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.

Thornton said Monday that the city hadn’t amended the original ordinance from the police department, but police officials have met with the school system. He expects the two entities have worked out a solution.

“We probably need to reverse the flow to avoid the issue on Highland, but also ask the school system to consider how they are stacking traffic in the area,” Thornton said.

Also on Tuesday, the council will hear from the police and fire departments in separate annual reports. Thornton said this is the second year the fire and police departments have been separated from the former public safety department. He said the annual reports are essential for the council to understand what struggles and successes are happening within the departments and how to best accommodate them moving forward.

“I think it is very helpful because fire and police are two of the largest department in the city by staff and budget,” Thornton said. “It is important to me and the city council that they have the resources they need, and they are able to do their job effectively.”

Tabitha Lewis-Coverson, executive director of Troup County Communities in School, will give an update about funding it has received recently.

Lewis-Coverson said the program had been awarded the State of Hope grant by the state, which will go to help support foster children in Troup County.

Additionally, she said the organization was awarded a Project Safe Neighborhood Grant by the U.S. State’s Attorney’s Office to work with students who have guardians in prison. She said the grant will support a curriculum and provide extra funding to take the students on field trips and college visits.

“Due to their guardians going to the prison system, the children find themselves homeless or not being able to cover their basic needs, and we are able to provide support for them,” Lewis-Coverson said. “It’s an additional layer of support for those kids. It also gives them alternatives so they don’t follow the same path.”

Another highlight of Tuesday’s meeting will be the honoring of the LaGrange Housing Authority basketball team, which won an MLK tournament during the Jan. 17-19 weekend in Birmingham. The council will also honor the dance team, which took third place the same weekend during the tournament.

The council will host a work session at 11 a.m. and the business meeting at 5:30 p.m.