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Neighborhoods could fund their own traffic improvements under commission proposal

Athens City Hall sits off of College Avenue on Tuesday, May 30, 2023, in Athens, Georgia. (Photo/Katie Tucker
Athens City Hall sits off of College Avenue on Tuesday, May 30, 2023, in Athens, Georgia. (Photo/Katie Tucker

Some Athens-Clarke County residents would be able to pay out of pocket for traffic improvements in their neighborhoods, under a plan being considered by commissioners.

Members of the commission’s Legislative Review Committee discussed a draft of a “Voluntary Residential Traffic Management Process” at a meeting on Thursday afternoon. Under the proposal, if enough property owners agree, those property owners can raise money among themselves to pay for traffic calming measures like speed tables and roundabouts. Once the improvements were in place, the county would then be responsible for maintaining them.

The process wouldn’t be a simple one. In its current form, the draft measure would require 65 percent of impacted residents - usually people who live on the same block or couple of blocks - to agree to start the process. The improvements would have to be approved by county staff for appropriateness and effectiveness. Then, all the impacted property owners would have to agree to the improvements. The affected property owners would also have to raise money for the improvements and then pay the county’s Transportation and Public Works Department to have the work performed.

A similar policy allowing neighborhoods to pay for sidewalks has seen few takers so far.

The Legislative Review Committee is expected to continue discussion on the proposal next month, and the full commission would have to approve the plan as well.


Martin Matheny is WUGA's Program Director and a host and producer of our local news program 'Athens News Matters.' He started at WUGA in 2012 as a part-time classical music host and still hosts WUGA's longest-running local program 'Night Music' which is heard on WUGA and GPB Classical. He lives in Normaltown with his wife, Shaye and dog, Murphy.