Road work shrinks Tattnall Square Park intersection in Macon

The intersection of Adams and Oglethorpe streets is getting smaller.

Andrew Silver, a Mercer University English professor and chairman of the local group Friends of Tattnall Square Park, said the two roads are far too wide there.

Grants and in-kind services from the local government will narrow the roads by moving the curb about a dozen feet, and the tighter lanes will cause drivers to slow down, he said.

“People will drive at the speed they feel safest to drive,” Silver said. “When you have ‘supersize-me’ lanes, you are encouraged to drive like a race car driver.”

Digging began Monday for the curb “bump-out” -- moving the curb 12 feet into the road on the straightaways of Adams and Oglethorpe and 15 feet on the corner.

Eventually the center lines on both streets will be moved to accommodate the new curb, and a pedestrian sidewalk as well as on-street parking similar to the spaces on Coleman Avenue will be placed along Oglethorpe Street, said Bill Causey, the project manager with the Macon-Bibb County Engineering Department.

Causey said a lack of parking along Oglethorpe doesn’t discourage drivers from speeding.

“So they can just ‘whoom,’” he said, making the noise of a speeding vehicle. “We want to solve that.”

Along with slowing down cars, the project will make bicycling and walking safer for pedestrians, Silver said.

“We want to create a pleasurable experience for people walking in Tattnall,” not a dangerous one, he said.

One Adams Street resident hopes the project will transform the intersection.

Jane Carder, who only recently served on the board with Friends of Tattnall, walks with her cane and her leashed dog from her house to the nearby dog park to Tattnall Square Park. She said she has often seen or heard cars squealing around the turn and “almost taking out the stop sign.”

“The reconfiguration ... will be much safer,” he said.

Carder said she and others have vocalized concerns about the Adams and Oglethorpe intersection for years, and a recommendation from AARP prompted the current project.

“We were a little more humble in our goals” than a costly roundabout or traffic bumps, Silver said.

Efforts to reach the project’s contractor were unsuccessful this week, and others associated with the project were unable to provide the scheduled date of completion.

More than $100,000 from two separate grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is funding the project, Silver said: an $80,000 grant to Friends of Tattnall Square Park for sidewalk work and a grant to the College Hill Alliance for signs.

“The city has been awesome, wonderful partners,” he said.

About five government departments are helping with demolition and moving the sewer lines. Silver said he’s proud of what they’ve been able to accomplish together.

To contact writer Conner Wood, call 744-4489.