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City approves plan to reduce lanes on 13th Street

COLUMBUS, Ga (WRBL) - Motorists traveling along 13th Street in Midtown will soon experience fewer lanes during their daily commute. The rivitalization of 13th Street has been on the lips of folks for nearly a year. Tuesday in a vote of 8 to 2, the city council got the last word. Now the reduction of lanes from four to two is one step closer being the new normal.

The vote to revitalize 13th Street was a no-brainer for City Councilor Judy Thomas. Her constitutents were overwhelmingly opposed and her vote would reflect it.

"I was one of two councilors who voted no. I voted no...I voted my conscience. And I voted the way that many of my constituents feel about the issue. But it passed. I lost. It passed," says Judy Thomas.

Voting no with Thomas was councilor Bruce Huff, but while they were opposed, others like Columbus resident Ann Newland was in the yes camp.

"I'm very happy to see that the City Council has voted in favor of the revitalization project, especially since I wrote a couple of e-mails to city councilors encouraging them to vote positively for the revitalization project," says Ann Newland.

Yet the concern about increased traffic congestion persists.

"I just think right now it's a little bit frustrating cause it takes everyone longer. We have clients that come into Bright Salon and complain about how long it takes for them to get here when they thought they'd be here ten minutes before," says Lacy Drimmel.

Change is almost never easy, but the possibility of breathing new life into shuttered businesses is an idea Thomas can get behind.

"I anticipate that I will now do whatever is necessary to make sure that the project is a go...is a good one and that section of thirteenth street is a viable economic engine in our community. That's what the majority said and that's what we'll do," says Judy Thomas.

Thomas also tells News 3 that despite Tuesday's city council vote, the Georgia Department of Transportation will ultimately have the final say on the re-striping of 13th Street.

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