Central Ave.

Mayor Kevin Grissom points to a spray painted dot on the pavement marking the center of the road.

Motorists on SW and NW Central Avenues in Blackshear better pay attention.

A section of the street that runs parallel to the railroad tracks from Main Street to Taylor Street is now one-way only.

“We’ve come to the conclusion the best way to do it is go with diagonal parking and make it a one-way street,” says Mayor Kevin Grissom. “Both sides of the railroad track will be one way. You turn in off of Main Street ... It will only be for that block, up to Taylor Street, and then it continues on being two-way.”

The road widens to two-way traffic past Taylor Street. (Taylor Street is located between Garden Cafe and Blackshear City Hall on SW Central Ave. and between Zach & Isabelle Hair Salon and The Sycamore Tree on NW Central Ave.)

The traffic flow change is being made in conjunction with the city’s repaving and restriping of the street. (See related story). The project was completed last weekend and the new traffic flow plan implemented Monday morning.

A project engineer measured and marked the center spot and parking spot length last week as city officials weighed their options. Hofstadter and Associates, Inc. of Macon serves as the city’s engineering firm.

SW Central Ave. has long been known as a problem area, particularly when all parking spaces on both sides are occupied – the remainder of the street is not wide enough for two-way traffic. Most motorists yield for each other to pass before continuing down the stretch.

NW Central Ave. is also congested, but cars have had more room to pass each other thanks to parallel parking along the railroad tracks. The city considered restriping parking along the tracks on SW Central Ave to be parallel as well, but even with adding four new parking spots on Taylor Street in front of city hall, that would have resulted in a net loss of six spaces.

“We’d lose a lot of parking here,” Grissom says.

Grissom says the city is now legally required to have 22’ of clearance to accommodate two-way traffic – 11’ for each lane. There was no way to meet that guideline for two-way traffic, and  maintain sufficient parking on the street, he says.

“We shouldn’t have a problem being one way,” he adds.

Parking spaces have been restriped at an angle on both sides of the street to accommodate traffic flowing one way. The new parking alignment actually allows for additional spots on NW Central Ave where parking was previously parallel.