13th Street revitalization effort still underway

Local business owners embrace potential change

COLUMBUS, Ga. - Change is usually uncomfortable. And for many motorists who travel along the 13th Street viaduct-connecting Midtown and Uptown-the potential change is not one that will be embraced overnight. But for business owner Tripp Wade, the change is long overdue. 

"As a small business man here in Columbus, Georgia, and I'm right around the corner on Linwood Boulevard. I just feel like there's a lot of opportunity for that corridor between two major arteries in Midtown and Uptown to be revitalized so that we can see some economic activity there again," says Wade. 

A 2017 study by the Georgia Department of Transportation found that 61% of properties facing 13th Street between 10th and 13th Avenues were either vacant or underutilized. And then there's the issue of traffic.

Business owner and Midtown Inc. board member, Will Burgin, challenges that notion. 

"This isn't about traffic," says Burgin.  In a very real sense, we did the measurements. We hired a gentleman out of Tallahassee-Rick Hall-who did the mathematics for us. There's not enough traffic on this road to warrant the four lanes." 

Councilor Judy Thomas isn't convinced and expressed her concern in a public meeting on the issue last summer, as reported by our media partner The Ledger-Enquirer. 

"Everyone I have spoken to, with very few exceptions, and most of those exceptions are here in this audience, has told me, 'Please do not change the lanes on this street..."I shudder to think what will happen with the traffic that comes down 13th Avenue hill onto what you have shown here as a one lane, 25mph road," says Thomas. 

"The take-away for this is, we've had this street as it is for thirty years, and we see the vacancies. Something has to change and this is a free opportunity for the citizens of Columbus," says Burgin. "Why won't we try it and see how it goes?" 


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