Georgia residents discussed the future of an intersection not far from the Milton border last Wednesday.
A public forum on the draft Georgia South Village Transportation Master Plan delved into “preferred alternatives” for future land use and sought public comment. One of the plan’s more controversial elements –the construction of a roundabout or signaled intersection at the convergence of U.S. 7 and state road 104A– was again discussed. Attendees did not voice a clear preference for either of the options.
“Last night just affirms the importance of the intersection and the importance of indicating a preference about what the town wants to see there,” said Taylor Newton, the Northwest Regional Planning Commission (NRPC) senior planner. “And the importance of getting that intersection on the radar of VTrans to … get the intersection redesigned.”
The location ranks 22 on the state’s list of high crash sites, according to Vanasse Hangen Brustlin managing director David Saladino. Although attendees at the South Village meetings have agreed change is needed at the intersection, an electronic vote among attendees at a July meeting showed no clear preference for one option over the other, Newton said.
The proposed roundabout would feature a single-lane and 130-foot diameter, according to the draft plan. Traffic studies through 2026 show no need for additional lanes to accommodate an estimated increase in vehicular volume. But the circle’s diameter could be adjusted, NRPC assistant director Bethany Remmers said.
The alternate proposal –a four-way intersection with traffic signals– would remove an existing right-turn slip lane, realign 104A, dispose of a center island to create a Northbound left-turn lane and create new crosswalks, a new roadway at the business entrance and a town green, the draft shows. Estimates predict an average delay of nine seconds under this configuration — accounting for increased traffic volume in the coming years.
“At times it’s been split, at times it’s been more in favor of signalization,” Remmers said. “So instead of giving VTrans numbers of what percentage wants one or the other we’re going to be providing more qualitative comments.”
Should VTrans take on the project, they will have the final say in any changes made to the state roads.
Attendees also inquired about the density of a proposed village on the town’s southern border. While the town’s existing code and zoning regulations allow for dense development, the area would likely require water and wastewater infrastructure to accommodate it, Newton said. Asked by Saladino if residents would be interested in supporting such infrastructure, attendees voiced no clear backing or opposition.
Wednesday night’s crowd also advocated relocating the Skunk Hill Road park and ride. The current location has neither enough parking spaces to accommodate commuters nor easy access for public transportation, Remmers said. Residents hope a new, larger location will address these issues.
Next steps will include a meeting between NRPC representatives and the town’s selectboard to share findings from the public forums and examine the master plan, Newton said. A date for this meeting remains to be scheduled but will occur after Town Meeting. Next week a display and one-page summary of the draft proposal will be made available at the town offices and library, according to Remmers.