Traffic would slow down and LaFayette Road would get slimmed down under a plan presented Thursday at Fort Oglethorpe City Hall.
The city has been trying to figure out how best to beautify LaFayette Road between Battlefield Parkway and the entrance to the Chickamauga Battlefield.
William Shealy, a landscape architecture horticulturist with the Chattanooga office of The Jaeger Co., made public a draft of a roughly 50-page plan that’s due to go to City Council for a decision on Dec. 10.
The plan calls for slowing traffic on the milelong stretch of road, upgrading its signs and making it more pedestrian- and bike-friendly.
During a talk to about 10 people early Thursday night, Shealy focused on three cross-sections showing what the road might look like.
Instead of the current five lanes, two of Shealy’s proposals showed four lanes separated by a tree-lined median. One plan called for narrowing the road to three lanes.
All the plans call for more trees along the road, streetlights modeled after antique lights at the Fort Oglethorpe Army post and bike lanes.
Fort Oglethorpe resident Geri Depkin was among those making comments.
“I like the trees next to road, because it cushions the walker,” she said, referring to the trees that separated the road and sidewalk in one plan.
The trees and narrowing the lanes from 12 feet to 11 feet should help slow drivers, Shealy said.
The city has applied for state and federal grants to fund most of the work.
“The elephant in the room, I think, is the overhead utilities and whether you can find the money to put things in the ground,” Shealy said.
There’s the possibility of moving the utilities onto a parallel street. Older town centers place utilities along alleys, Shealy said.
“That’s always a less-expensive route to get them off a corridor,” Shealy said.
Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.