EDITORIAL: Progress on the corridor has us ‘trending in the right direction’

April 2, 2014 

It’s hard to believe that a staple of Macon’s roadways will soon disappear. While plans are not final for the Second Street Bridge crossing the Norfolk Southern Railway tracks, this dubious landmark, called the “Hump Bridge” is certainly going to change -- for the better. The undercarriages of cars and trucks will be safe again. Visitors to our fair city will no longer find themselves suddenly airborne. The 1850s-era bridge wasn’t designed for motorized travel and it’s hard to believe it was designed for any type of wagon or walking traffic.

While the bridge work is long overdue, the vision for the rest of the Second Street Corridor is more impressive.

Though it will take some time -- years in fact -- for all the plans for the corridor to come together, residents will see a transformation in stages. The transition along Richard Penniman Boulevard has been in the works for more than a decade under the last two mayors. Now the plan includes a corridor that will encompass Emery Highway, through downtown and on to Mercer University and will cost much more than the $8 million in seed money from the SPLOST. Quite ambitious.

When plans are detailed from other cities from Greenville, S.C., to Greensboro, N.C., to Charleston and other cities in between, the process is long with fits and starts, but all began with a central theme. The hope is that by the government focusing on a particular section of the city -- a corridor -- it can lure private business that is attracted to an increase in population in that area.

This corridor should help revitalize downtown as well as the areas around The Medical Center of Central Georgia and eventually impact the urban core, attracting creative professionals.

The planning process along the corridor is a necessary first step in making the neighborhoods around the corridor nice places to live, work and play. Couple that with the city’s already sizable loft activity downtown that belies our area’s population loss and we are, as people say, “trending in the right direction.”

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