Adairsville considers street changes in fight against crime
by Neil McGahee
May 23, 2014 | 1411 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
About 30 Adairsville citizens attended a public meeting Thursday night to voice their opinions about a proposal to close certain roads and make others one-way in a residential area south of the downtown business district bordered by U.S. Highway 41, Old 41 and Martin Luther King Drive.

The city staff recommended the changes in response to safety concerns raised by residents such as higher-than-usual crime rates and numerous traffic violations. The staff recommended creating a dead end at McKenzie Circle and changing Ripley, Bruce, Casey, Cline and Lawrence streets from two-way to one-way.

“The most important thing to remember is that these are just proposals,” Adairsville Police Chief Robert Jones told the audience. “There is nothing set in stone. We want to hear everyone’s concerns.”

Jones said research has shown that there is a correlation between street access and crime rates.

“A Los Angeles study showed crime rates went down soon after street access was closed,” he said. “And, when the streets were reopened, the crime rate began rising. Frequently traveled streets in your neighborhood create more criminal type environments by establishing ways to enter the neighborhood undetected as well as a means of escape.”

Jones also said that by closing the streets, the police could put a stop to speeding through residential streets that endangered pedestrians, particularly children.

“This proposal is a tool to help us in the police department fight crime,” Jones said. “It’s not a perfect plan and a few people may be inconvenienced by it, but for the police, it’s the best plan.”

Most of the speakers at the hearing spoke about problems with noise and unruly gangs of adolescents crossing through yards and loitering in yards.

Darlene Payne said she came to her McKenzie Street home to find a man parked in his truck in her front yard. Another time, she said she came home around 2 a.m. to find people parked all along the side of the road that “didn’t have any business being there.”

Payne said she often has to pick up litter — trash, cigarette butts, marijuana joints, even needles — from her yard in an effort to keep the area clean.

Dennis Meek, a school bus driver, liked the plan, but he said he would have a problem making the turn out of one street if it were made one-way. City manager Pam Madison said she would look into his concerns.

Madison closed the meeting by reiterating that all comments and suggestions would be taken into consideration.

“We want to hear from you,” she said. “Then we want to consider all proposals and make a recommendation to the city council at the July meeting. At that time, there will be another public hearing for further comments.”

Before the meeting closed, participants were asked if they supported or opposed the proposal. There was no opposition.

The Adairsville City Council will hold a special meeting on Tuesday, May 27, at 6 p.m. for Kenneth “KC” Carson to be sworn is as mayor.