I enjoyed Melissa Orrison’s article in the “new” Macon-Bibb Reporter about the Bass Road traffic and construction. As the Monroe County representative (and past Chairman) of the Citizens Advisory Committee of the Macon Area Transportation Study (MATS), I have always been interested in the way that local governments and GDOT approaches growth. Monroe County has a seat at the table because of the parts of I-75 and I-475 from the Bibb County line to the interstate merge are in Monroe County and that triangle of land (I call it our little cornfield) includes us in the study.
They seem to approve useless projects (Forest Hill widening) and are years behind on critical projects like widening Bass Road. In fact, when the new Bass Road bridge over the Norfolk Southern Railroad was first proposed, the Committee had hard questions about it because the design was for two lanes, plus a bike / pedestrian lane, ....... instead of the four lanes + bike/pedestrian lanes that seemed to be a necessity because Bass Road would eventually be expanded to 4 lanes, right? Wrong.
Another problem is the ACE Charter School on New Forsyth Road. When first proposed, the agreement was for traffic leaving the school to travel North on New Forsyth Road, left on Bass Court, left on Bass Pro Blvd, and return to Bass Road. When the school was new (grades 1-7), there was not a huge problem. As each year came and another grade was added, the traffic grew and grew. Since there is no bus service, all students arrive and leave in private vehicles. Despite the “No U-Turn” signs on Bass Road and at the end of Bass Court, parents continue to ignore the signs at both locations with impunity and create (a) a dangerous situation, and (b) excruciating extra traffic for the school and for Monroe County residents travelling South on New Forsyth Road in the morning and afternoon. The Bibb County Sheriff can’t even handle emergency calls within an hour, so getting help and relief from them is problematic. If you want to see a deputy respond, go set up a camera there in the morning on a tripod and pretend to take pictures of the people that ignore the “No U-turn” signs. He’ll be there in 10 minutes or less to ask YOU what you’re doing. Most of them do understand the First Amendment gives anyone the right to photograph anything visible in public, but the drivers from ACE would argue with that and threaten you with a lawsuit for taking their picture without prior permission.
I was surprised by Will’s new initiative in coming up with this innovative monthly section. Since I live so close to Bibb County I am affected by all of this. I have not chewed out SOS Brad Raffensperger lately about his ineptitude and malfeasance as it relates to his handling of the Monroe-Bibb county line affair after 5 years of promises to do his job quickly and efficiently. This would be an excellent topic for another column. It needs to be aired out every so often and eventually settled. I have watched the process closely for 12 or 13 years and it has been aggravating, to say the least.
John Ricketson - South Monroe County