Council votes to make Garfield Street one-way

Published 7:00 pm Wednesday, February 14, 2024

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The LaGrange City Council has approved plans to limit traffic on a portion of Garfield Street in the Hillside community to one-way out of safety concerns.

The council unanimously approved an ordinance to make Garfield Street one-way from Lincoln Street to the intersection with Jefferson Street headed away from downtown LaGrange.

The change stems from safety concerns from the streetscape improvement plans near the DASH commercial renovations on Lincoln Street.

Barge Design Solutions recommended the change after looking at the flow of traffic in the area. 

The city has recently engaged Principal Construction for streetscape improvements at the corner of Garfield and Lincoln Street.

A first reading was held for the change on Jan. 23. A public hearing was not held, as it is not required for traffic changes. However, Mayor Pro Tem Jim Arrington held an impromptu, unofficial public hearing, after being told of community concerns during the morning work session.

One resident raised concerns, questioning why the city is voting on this now if it was in the works when the original streetscape plans were approved months back.

She also questioned whether a traffic study had been done and said she could not find any information about it.

Arrington said that although potentially making Garfield on-way had been considered before approving the streetscape project, one did not affect the other. The streetscape project, which is currently underway, would happen regardless of any changes to Garfield.

David Bishop of Barge Design Solutions explained that a traffic study had been completed, which concluded the change would be needed for pedestrian safety. Bishop also noted that with the current parking on Garfield Street, it isn’t wide enough for two-way traffic to meet Federal Highway Administration regulations.

The woman, who did not publicly identify herself, said she is also concerned with the timing of two projects happening at the same time, noting the temporary closure of Panther Way.

She said it’s already hard enough to get back into town from Hillside with Panther Way closed.

Assistant City Manager Bill Bulloch estimated that Panther Way would be closed for less than two months, depending on weather conditions.

Ultimately, the citizen indicated she was more concerned about the timing of the project and being unable to find any information on it other than the traffic change.

After the impromptu hearing, the council unanimously approved modifying Garfield Street to one-way from Lincoln Street to the intersection with Jefferson Street.