The Capital Regional Transportation Planning Agency (CRTPA) heard an update and voted to move forward to the design phase of the Thomasville Road Multi-Use Path. The discussion and vote took place during the January 31 CRTPA Board meeting.
The vote passed with Commissioners Kristin Dozier, Curtis Richardson, Dianne Williams-Cox, Betsy Barfield, Quincee Messersmith, Anthony Viegbesie, and Councilman Decorkus Allen in the affirmative. In contrast, Commissioners Rick Minor, Nick Maddox, and Jeremy Matlow were in dissent.
The agenda item determined whether to move forward into the design phase for the Thomasville Road Multi-Use Path that will connect the Market District to Midtown. The recommendation by staff was the approval of the path that would run along Thomasville Road from Betton Road to Armistead Road and from Armistead Road to Woodgate.
For the path to avoid the I-10 interchange, the recommendation is to cross Thomasville Road West and run up to Metropolitan Boulevard on that side of the street.
The estimated cost is displayed in the chart below:
After hearing from citizens both supporting and against the multi-use path, Commissioner Minor, who initially favored the project, began the discussion with a new proposal.
While Minor agrees with the need for “greater connectivity” using multimodal paths, he feels the Thomasville corridor is not the safest roadway to have one. Furthermore, he felt the need to listen to the community in his district and come up with an alternative.
After talking with the community, Minor said 58% of residents do not approve of the path. “It’s not a perfect solution,” Minor said, “but perhaps workable.” First, he suggested having cyclists use the current All Saints to Maclay Gardens Route. Then, he proposed repairing and upgrading the existing sidewalks along Thomasville Road for pedestrians.
Minor stated that simply repairing certain sections of the existing sidewalks could save the CRTPA as much as $5.8 million. He said he used the Florida Department of Transportation’s “long-range estimated sidewalk costs per mile” figures, and the estimated total is roughly $339 thousand.
Minor made a motion not to move forward with the design phase of the proposed plans but instead have staff bring back a new item to repair the sidewalks along Thomasville Road.
Commissioner Maddox seconded the motion, agreeing with Minor that if the project can be reimagined at a lower cost, those funds could go to other communities, such as on the Southside, to repair or construct sidewalks.
Commissioners Williams-Cox and Richardson opposed Minor’s proposal, saying so much time and money had already gone into the feasibility study for the current recommendation.
Richardson made a substitute motion to move forward with the staff recommendations, and Williams-Cox seconded it.
In the end, after a lengthy discussion, the commissioners voted on the substitute motion, which carried. According to the Board, there will be continual community outreach and dialogue with the commission throughout the project’s next phase.