Interns to make case for cart path to Starr’s Mill complex


Fayette County high school interns working with the Fayette County government presented their findings and options for a golf cart path and crossing for the Starr’s Mill school complex on Redwine Road to the Fayette County Commission on Aug. 14.

Though the cost of the project is currently being evaluated, the interns will present their findings to the Fayette County Board of Education on Sept. 8.

The idea behind the research was to ensure that students, parents and faculty have a safer route for golf cart use along Redwine Road to the school complex and have safer crossings within the complex itself. The complex, located just south of Peachtree City’s southern limits, comprises Peeples Elementary School, Rising Starr Middle School and Starr’s Mill High School.

Interns Tessa Strickland and Khalil Coleman were asked to present findings and options for a safe golf cart path and crossing for the Starr’s Mill school complex on Redwine Road. Coleman, a rising junior at Whitewater High School, and Strickland, a rising junior at Starr’s Mill High School, met with a number of county staff and those with the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office and the Fayette County School System to get input on the assignment.

Coleman and Strickland studied the schools’ campuses and adjacent areas and identified areas that needed to be addressed. Their proposal cited effective ways to reduce the speed on Redwine Road to allow for safe crossings and to reduce the speed on Panther Path to allow safe golf cart crossings.

The students first suggested reducing the speed limit on Redwine to 25 miles per hour within the school zone, as is the case in the large majority of other school zones in the county.

Strickland and Coleman suggested adding a median with a safe zone to the crossing at Redwine and Foreston Place where the cart path currently ends on the east side of Redwine. They also suggested extending the cart path approximately 2,500 feet to the north to tie-in with the existing path and to add a cart path on the west side of Redwine from Foreston Place to Panther Path.

It would be at the intersection of Redwine and Panther Path that a new three-dimensional crossing would be installed along with a median/safe island, the interns said, noting that a deputy currently works the intersection. Though painted on the roadway, the crosswalk would appear to be one with three dimensions, thus prompting drivers to travel more slowly through the intersection. The presence of the deputy combined with the other enhancements would ensure maximum safety for all path users, they said.

The proposal by Coleman and Strickland also included the idea of installing a speed table on Panther Path. Different than a speed bump, a speed table is a traffic-slowing device which provided a longer incline and decline with a wide, flat area between the two that will accommodate both foot traffic and golf carts.

The interns suggested moving the crosswalk on Panther Path further to the east and nearer to the high school. If accomplished, the cart path would need to be extended, the proposal noted.

Both commissioners and those speaking during public comments said they favored the proposal, though most of the several public speakers taking the podium addressed a topic not included in the presentation – their desire to have a stop sign or some type of traffic mitigation measure installed along Redwine Road at the Whitewater Creek subdivision more than two miles to the north and far outside the study area.

Dep. Superintendent Sam Sweat in his comments said he would ask the interns to present their recommendations to the Fayette County Board of Education on Sept. 8. Sweat noted that, unlike the successful cart path system serving McIntosh High School in Peachtree City, the Starr’s Mill complex is in the unincorporated county.

For their part, commissioners by consensus favored exploring the proposal and asked county Public Works Director Phil Mallon to take the elements of the plan pertinent to the county and put a cost figure to it. It was noted that the portion of the proposed project along Panther Path is the property of the school system and would not be funded using county funds. Commissioners also suggested that the county and school system could look for potential grants for the project.

Strickland and Coleman will be joined by county public works director Phil Mallon to present the project to the school board on Sept. 8.