City officials: FAMU Way extension will improve traffic flow, access

D.A. Robin; 09/28/2014 @ FAMU Way  The extension to FAMU Way will feature roundabouts among other new amenities. City officials say the years of work will be worth it when traffic flow eases.

D.A. Robin;
@ FAMU Way
The extension to FAMU Way will feature roundabouts among other new amenities. City officials say the years of work will be worth it when traffic flow eases.

The FAMU Way Extension project will not only improve the road, but better Tallahassee’s traffic flow, city officials say.

Though these changes will be beneficial, phase one of this project is expected to be completed by 2016. This has impacts nearby residents and a preschool.

A City of Tallahassee’s engineer Steve Shafer said the new FAMU Way is designed to make traffic much more efficient. There will be roundabouts for fewer stops, which reduces carbon emissions and car accidents.

“The city was in need of more east to west corridors,” Steve Shafer explained.  

There will be a linear park in conjunction of the new road. According to Shafer, they plan on enhancing the landscape and using LED street lighting.

The City of Tallahassee believes the new FAMU Way will be the most beautiful road in the city. Meanwhile, nearby residents, must endure the construction before they can enjoy the scenery.

Jean Belneau, 22 from Haiti, is a resident at Kingston Square. He said the construction doesn't bother him until he has to begin his day.

"At first I didn't think it was a big deal, but I have to walk through lots dirt to get to my destination,” Belneau said .

Shafer said he understands how the residents must feel since the construction is an urban area.

“What they want is for you to build expeditiously,” Shafer said.

Kenedria Thurman, FAMU New Beginnings Child Development Center assistant director, said she was not directly informed until changes began. She had been using a tree outside of her classroom as an observation tool for her students, but one day the students observed as that the tree was being uprooted.

According to Thurman, a city official visited the pre-school and explained the FAMU Way Extension and the projected length of the construction. The city representatives attended the pre-school’s open house to talk to the parents and showed them models of the completed road.

She said, “They feel the effects that they have on our center, so they try to keep us informed and keep us in the loop.”

The City of Tallahassee has asked for FAMU New Beginnings participation in the ground-breaking ceremony and recently in an assimilation video that will demonstrate to city residents how to navigate through roundabouts and back-in parking.

Thurman said she appreciates the exposure and direct communication, but she still has many concerns.

“As far as the effects of it, I think that this side street (FAMU Way) gave us more ease of access and currently our enrollment is not where we would like for it to be,” She said.

The detour has even affected parents who are trying to get their children to class on time, since the pre-school has a tardy policy.

Another one of her concerns is the students’ exposure to mosquitoes. The pre-school gets health department alerts about mosquitos and child safety, especially because they have an outside playground that is fenced in.

The FAMU Way extension project includes plans on creating a retention pond that stretches from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Bronough Street in addition to FAMU’s retention pond in the corner of the parking lot.

Shafer said he knows the construction is going through some historical places in town and the project is considering ways they can highlight these sites. Also, there is a lot of discussion about retail stores coming into the area.

Celia Matthews is an elderly woman and a former cook who has been living in a house around the corner from the construction since 1942. She said she can still remember when that area use to be a mudslide. The construction does not bother her, and she is happy with the changes that will be made.

“I think it’s going to look better than Gaines St. I really do, especially with the round-about, we never had anything like that” Matthews said.

Once the construction is done, FAMU Way will open up another route for Tallahassee residents and bring beauty to the area.