I have heard the objections of those on expanding the south Aiken bypass (Hitchcock Parkway), including Bob Gilbert’s special column on Thursday, and I disagree with most, if not all, of the objections.
Why? Because regardless of statements to the contrary, widening of that road is definitely needed by those who frequently visit the mall, movie theater, nice restaurants and stores offered in south Aiken. The road may have originally been put in for easy access and not as a main artery, as Gilbert stated in his column. However, there is no other easy access for the hundreds of daily travelers coming in from Augusta to the Valley area and beyond.
There is no reasonable argument behind residents’ claims of creating issues with the golf course communities that border the parkway, because not one neighborhood faces the road in any area along the 4.7 mile stretch at any point. Anyone who does travel the bypass frequently, as I do, experiences frustration because there is no easy way to pass, due to the heavy traffic, the hills and curves. Most of the time, there are long lines created, due to large trucks and slow cars that travel 30 to 45 miles per hour in both directions, even when the speed is posted at 55 miles per hour.
Since south Aiken does not adversely affect the beauty of the downtown area and the recent growth on Richland Avenue is very much needed, the diversity of the south Aiken experience would only be improved and expanded, if the bypass is allowed to be widened to four lanes.
I may not be an expert, but I would rather shop and eat in the Aiken area and I will only do that if the travel is convenient and the stores and restaurants are worth traveling to. Otherwise, most people will just continue to visit nearby Georgia shops and restaurants instead.
Tina M. Bevington