Contact Elected Officials to Save the Proposed Thomasville Road Multiuse Path
On January 31 city and county officials will vote to advance the Thomasville Road Multiuse Path Feasibility Study to the design phase. Without your voice, the official may vote to table the long-awaited solution to the corridor’s increasing risk for cyclists and pedestrians. See list of city and county officials below.
Recently I watched an ebike rider speed past people walking on the narrow sidewalk east of Thomasville Road. Then I saw a distracted driver veering in and out of the bike lane. No wonder the ebike rider, who seemed to be on an errand, chose the sidewalk rather than risk the speeding traffic on Thomasville Road.
Most cyclists and runners just avoid Thomasville. The beautiful corridor has become a highspeed thoroughfare. The growing suburbs north of Interstate 10 send traffic to downtown, midtown, and campus destinations and have made Thomasville Road an ever more dangerous place to drive, walk, run and bicycle.
Thomasville is a state road that is part of local city and county transportation systems. But safety appears to be a multiagency afterthought. The only real safety measure is avoidance. Yet, there is no good alternative way to walk, run, or bicycle between neighborhoods and shops or from the market district to midtown.
A proposal by the Capital Regional Transportation Planning Agency to make Thomasville Road between Betton and Timberlane safer appears to be in trouble. On January 31 elected public officials will gather to decide to move the Thomasville Road Feasibility Study to the design phase. The officials are far from committed.
The proposal has many critics, some appear to know little about multiuse trail development. Most have emerged from the recently developed pocket neighborhoods along Thomasville Road.
If the opponents prevail it will remove any possibility of encouraging less than 100% car dependence for short trips to parks, schools, churches, and commercial centers on both ends of the corridor. It will all but eliminate future opportunities to travel safely by bicycle from midtown to the market district. Those who want to use Thomasville Road to visit parks or friends or will be stuck with using a car.
The Citizens Multimodal Advisory Committee (CMAC) approved unanimously the Thomasville Road Multi-Use Path Feasibility project feasibility study report. The committee found the path is feasible with the existing right of way. That action also signaled the project should move into the design phase when funding is allocated for that purpose. The vote of the CRTPA (made up of elected officials) will meet on Monday, January 31, at 5:30 pm in the Tallahassee Commission Chambers. The agenda will be posted on www.crtpa.com.
Many members of Captial City Cyclists and other organizations have contributed substantial amounts of time and effort in support of this project. Supporters have emailed elected officials, worked with neighbors to educate and propose alternatives. Many also attended CRTPA meetings and the public engagement session. The CCC position is linked here.
This is the time to express our views again. By approving the report and moving the project into the design phase, there will be opportunities to address many concerns already raised and questions posed, especially questions raised by those who value the road’s tree canopy. Motorist crash data will be reviewed. Pathways that avoid and protect trees will be reviewed. Signage and enhancing visibility and safety at driveways and crossing will be reviewed along with alternative transportation modes.
There are concerns about costs and questions about spending transportation funds on the north side instead of the south side of town. These are valid concerns but should not keep the plan from being considered. There are sizable investments being made in multimodal infrastructure downtown and on the south side of town. Certainly, we should all support more sidewalks, especially for the long-neglected neighborhoods to the south and northwest. However, without major safety improvements the Thomasville Road corridor will be an ever more dangerous and therefore avoided route for those seeking transportation alternatives.
CRTPA elected officials are listed by city and county jurisdiction below.
Please send your comments. Tell these elected officials in your own words why safe non-motorized use of the Thomasville Road corridor is important to you.
Commissioner Jeremy Matlow (JeremyMatlow@talgov.com)
Commissioner Diane Williams-Cox (DianeWilliams-Cox@talgov.com)
Commissioner Curtis Richardson (CurtisRichardson@talgov.com)
Commissioner Kristen Dozier (DozierK@LeonCountyFl.gov)
Commissioner Rick Minor (MinorR@LeonCountyFl.gov)
Commissioner Nick Maddox (MaddoxN@LeonCountyFl.gov)
Wakulla County Commissioner Quincee Messersmith (email@example.com)
Jefferson County Commissioner Betsy Barfield (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Gadsden County Commissioner Anthony Viegbesie (AViegbesie@gadsdencountyfl.gov)
Havana Councilman Decorkus Allen (Group2@townofhavana.com)