Albany City Commission hears updates on transportation center, monitoring speeders in school zones

A new transportation center in the Harlem District of Albany will recognize Ola Mae Quartimon-Clemons, who was arrested in 1962 for refusing to move to the back of a city bus.

ALBANY — Plans for a new downtown transportation center include recognition of the Albany Civil Rights Movement for the facility that will be situated in the city’s historic Harlem District.

The importance of elements identified with the movement were discussed during a public comment process conducted earlier this year for the West Oglethorpe Boulevard facility, Lester Love of Niles, Bolton & Associates told Albany city commissioners on Tuesday.

Love addressed the issue during an update on design of the 300 E. Oglethorpe transportation center that will replace the current building that currently serves the Albany Transit System and commercial bus service.

Some 98 comments were received after the meetings, the first of which was held on Jan. 10, Love said.

“We were left with many good comments and many outstanding ones,” he said.

The company also gathered ideas from those who are promoters of Albany’s role in the civil rights movement. One of those involved recognizing Ola Mae Quarterman, Love said.

In 1962, Quarterman was arrested after she refused to move to the back of a city bus after paying her fare, predating by three years the more famous incident in Montgomery, Ala., involving Rosa Parks.

Based on feedback and the desire to honor Quarterman, the company is looking at a plaza named for her and a bronze statue.

“(We) envision a peaceful place for reflection,” Love said. “We feel this is very positive.”

Another design idea includes a plaque wall honoring students who in 1961 staged sit-ins at the building, which at the time was the Trailways bus station.

“This feels like a genuine way to educate and inspire,” Love said.

Other public ideas included adding phone-charging stations and wireless service and an information kiosk, he said.

Commissioners took no action during the Tuesday non-voting work session. The planned completion date for the transportation center is scheduled for January 2022.

Tuesday’s discussion also included a presentation by technology company RedSpeed International on a proposal to place car speed-monitoring devices at public schools in the city.

Company representative Greg Parks presented information about a study conducted on roadways at campuses in Albany. The study looked at the number of speeders traveling by schools exceeding the posted speed limit by more than 10 miles per hour during a nine-hour period that included the hour before school and the hour after the school day was completed.

“Twenty schools had 200-plus drivers exceeding 10-plus miles per hour over the speed limit,” Parks said. “Several had 1,000.”

Parks said the company recommends initially placing equipment that would monitor speeding cars and take photos of license plates at the five to 10 locations where speeding incidents are the most numerous. The company would mail citations to the registered owners of the speeding vehicles.

The company would operate the system, mail citations and store data, and would split fines, with the city keeping 65 percent of revenue generated.

Under Georgia law, the local share of the fines would go to the police department or for public safety purposes, he said. The license plate recognition technology will monitor cars 24 hours per day and could help police solve other crimes.

“There are Amber alerts, temporary protective orders” where the cameras could assist police, Parks said. “Police will be notified very quickly if one of those cars drives through a school zone.”

In other business Tuesday, commissioners also discussed:

♦ A proposed $1.76 million contract for alley paving with Jim Boyd Construction. The project would surface about 2.5 miles of unpaved alleys in the city;

♦ A proposal from the Albany Utilities Board to approve a supplemental contract with the Municipal Gas Authority to supply natural gas to the city;

♦ An on-premises alcohol consumption license for Club Frozen Bar & Lounge at 1020 Flint Ave.;

♦ Package alcohol sales licenses for Bottoms Up at 719 N. Westover Blvd. and transfer of an existing license at the 2810 Old Dawson Road location of Lighthouse Liquor.

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