go back to Forest Hill Road
Macon Telegraph Editors Opinion (see a scanned copy of the editorial)
June 9, 2016 9:00 PM
At least make the walls aesthetically pleasing
Forest Hill Road has a long and controversial history
Construction has been a mess
Retaining wall issue
Forest Hill Road is the byway that keeps on giving and that's not meant as a compliment. As part of the 1994 Roads Improvement Program it has been a constant headache for opponents and proponents for its constantly shifting purpose and design. Nineteen years ago when plans for the road first raised the hackles of residents, it still has the power to illicit disdain and for some rage.
There have been lawsuits, injunctions, demonstrations and heated words. The reason for the expansion of Forest Hill along with Park Street and Log Cabin Drive, the so-called, Northwest Parkway a more direct route to the Macon Mall has disappeared. After years of delay and who knows how many design changes, construction of “improvements” on Forest Hill Road finally got underway in 2014.
Lindsay Holliday, who sought the injunction to keep the Georgia Department of Transportation from working on the road said GDOT’s premise “to improve safety and operational efficiency on the road” wasn’t supported by data. It is unfortunate, but GDOT has a habit of making the data say what it wants it to say. Holliday also opposed the removal of the tree canopy.
Holliday eventually lost that battle, but he’s still fighting as construction swallows up Forest Hill. His latest gripe are three retaining walls between Green Oak Terrace and North Laura Ann Place. Two of the walls have what Holliday calls a “stone textured surface.” They are actually called “parapet walls.” However, one wall, the one in the middle, is just a smooth surfaced concrete wall that doesn’t match the other two.
Holliday thinks the smooth wall will attract graffiti artist and that the parapet walls do not. We don’t buy that logic. Spray paint sticks to either surface. Where Holliday makes his point is consistency of appearance. Aesthetics are important. It is not an unheard of concept. It’s what ties an area together. Forest Hill Road from Forsyth Road to Northside Drive is only 2.8 miles. It would seem natural to try and make the “improvements” match and that is what the contractors should do.
The next phases of the project will draw even more angst. An accident Thursday morning at Forest Hill and Ridge Avenue turned both streets into a one lane roads. We can only imagine what’s going to happen when the orange barrels move northwest.
emails to Mayor Reichert, GDOT, Commissioner Bechtel, and other officials...
| Date: Mon, 02 May 2016 18:49:31 -0400
To: Gary Bechtel <email@example.com < mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>>,email@example.com
From: Holliday Dental <firstname.lastname@example.org < mailto:email@example.com>>
Subject: Forest Hill Road - Non conforming wall is begging for gang
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org ,email@example.com ,firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com ,firstname.lastname@example.org ,email@example.com>,
MATS CAC Chairman Dr John Swint <firstname.lastname@example.org < mailto:email@example.com>>,
CAC Vice Chair <firstname.lastname@example.org < mailto:email@example.com>>
Dear Mallory and Gary,
Please bring this situation to the attention of your committees tomorrow. We need to prevent graffiti blight from occurring on the concrete walls being constructed along Forest Hill Road (FHR).
The Macon Bibb Road Improvement Program (RIP) resolved over ten years ago that all retaining walls would have a stone textured surface to reduce graffiti. Graffiti artists prefer smooth walls to paint on. No RIP wall on FHR should have a non-conforming smooth surface. The smooth wall (see attached photo) in the 700 block of FHR needs to be resurfaced in order to comply with the RIP resolution. This smooth surface is begging for gang graffiti. Graffiti will be highly visible, since the wall is on the outside of a curve, all drivers eyes will see it, when approaching the curve.
Two other new retaining walls on FHR were constructed correctly -- they each have the correct stone facing.
Please make sure the retaining wall currently being constructed on FHR (just north of the smooth wall in the photo) will conform with the RIP guidelines of textured stone surfacing.
(Former Chair of the MATS - CAC)
| From: Holliday Dental [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Sunday, June 5, 2016 11:19 AM
To: Ford, Clinton <email@example.com < mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>>; Mayor Robert Reichert <email@example.com < mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>>
Cc: Gary Bechtel <email@example.com < mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>>; email@example.com < mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>; email@example.com < mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>; email@example.com < mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>; email@example.com < mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>; email@example.com < mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>; MATS CAC Chairman Dr John Swint <email@example.com < mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>>; CAC Vice Chair <email@example.com < mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>>; email@example.com < mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Forest Hill Road - Non conforming walls are target for future graffiti and blight.
Mr. Mayor, Mr. Ford,
I would like to give you 3 business days to respond to this situation before I send a letter to the Telegraph for publication. Time is of essence due to concrete being poured/set daily here.
Commissioner Bechtel, in whose district this project exists, has not responded to the email below.
- Lindsay Holliday
Date: Tue, 07 Jun 2016 22:45:49 -0400
To: Gary Bechtel <email@example.com>,"Ford, Clinton" <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Mayor Robert Reichert <email@example.com>,firstname.lastname@example.org,
MATS CAC Chairman Dr John Swint <email@example.com>,
CAC Vice Chair <firstname.lastname@example.org>,email@example.com,
From: Holliday Dental <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Forest Hill Road - Non conforming walls - Just Fix'm - stop
None of the explanations (excuses) given preclude you all from 'doing the right thing' by Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful.
People, visitors, residents prefer to see all the walls finished with the faux-stone forms.
Just fix it -- Pour the next concrete wall top (attached photo) using the stone-shaped-forms instead of the smooth-shaped-forms.
I hereby pledge five (5) $100.00 donations to the favorite 501.c.3 charity of each of the first 5 of you who speak up and promote the more attractive wall finish. The only condition is that you 5 brave speakers must be successful in changing the ugly plan to the "Make Macon More Beautiful" plan.
- Lindsay Holliday
At 05:11 PM 6/7/2016, Gary Bechtel wrote:
See the answer below
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