River District concept now include new pedestrian crosswalk, roundabout

Tuesday, June 6, 2023–1:13 p.m.

-David Crowder, WRGA News-

City Manager Sammy Rich discusses streetscape project during Tuesday’s joint services committee meeting

The concept plan for the River District in downtown Rome continues to evolve with the latest addition being a new crosswalk on the West Third Street side of the Fifth Avenue Bridge.

Rome City Manager Sammy Rich told the Rome-Floyd County Joint Services Committee on Tuesday that the crosswalk will be pedestrian actuated.

“It’s technically called HAWK [High-Intensity Activated CrossWalK] pedestrian signal,” Rich said. “What really makes it interesting is that it’s clearly open until someone needs to cross. The pedestrian then pushes the button, and then the flashing lights come on, alerting drivers that they are going to have to slow down and stop to give the pedestrian time to cross.”

Work on the NOVA project, which will include 242 multi-family housing units, commercial space, and a two-acre community park, is underway. According to Rich, that development along with plans for the trail system will mean more pedestrians in the area.

.“As part of the overall streetscape, we think this is a pretty good design,” he said. “There is really no impact on the bridge. You may recall in previous iterations of looking at that streetscape we had looked at some different concepts for the bridge. So, this basically leaves the bridge alone and simply adds a pedestrian crossing on the West Third side. I think it’s going to have a lot of functionality that will help our walking public.”

Another component of the concept plan being formulated by Pond and Company is a change to the intersection of West Third, Fifth Avenue, and Lower Avenue A. Plans are to replace the traffic signal with a roundabout.

“Those are technically much more efficient at moving traffic,” Rich said. “You’re not going to sit and wait on a signal, you up, yield, and enter the traffic circle and keep moving. We have a really good concept that shifts the intersection there at Lower Avenue A. So, that will be something that we will continue to look at and study as we move forward with this project.”

There is some uncertainty in the timeline for when work on the streetscape project will begin.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is getting ready to begin work on the widening of Second Avenue. It’s a 30-month project and the main detour will be West Third Street to Fifth Avenue to the intersection, and then down Fifth Avenue along Avenue A and back to Turner McCall Boulevard.