Forest Hill Road Homepage

Forest Hill Road

   Pedestrian Fatality - December 2011  

Macon, Ga

SOS forest

    Bibb County's - "Roads Improvement Program"  



 Joseph Clark
(June 13, 1980 - December 15, 2011)

  M. Joseph Clark, age 31, passed away Thursday, December 15, 2011 due to injuries sustained in an accident.

Joseph was born in Macon. He was a member of High Point Baptist Church and owner of MJC painting.

He is survived by his parents, Monty and Sherry Clark of Macon; sisters, Robin Malo of Charlotte, North Carolina, Kelli Clark of New York City, and Leslie Haney of Macon; several aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews.

The family may be contacted at the home of Leslie Haney and will receive friends from 4-6:00 P.M. Sunday at Crest Lawn.

Funeral services will be 2:00 P.M. Monday, December 19, 2011 at High Point Church. The Reverend Andy King will officiate. Interment will follow in Macon Memorial Park Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the family in care of Crest Lawn Funeral Home, 3275 Pio Nono Avenue, Macon, Georgia 31206.

Please sign the online registry at,


December 15, 2011
Fatal Traffic Accident in North Bibb
The Bibb Sheriff’s Office is investigating a fatal traffic accident involving a pedestrian that occurred around 11:20p.m. Wednesday night.

According to witness statements, Monty Joseph Clark Jr. and his friend, Robert Taylor, were attempting to cross Forest Hill Road from the Billy’s Clubhouse parking lot to the Rivalry’s Sports Bar and Grill parking lot. As Clark began to cross the street, Taylor advised him to stop after observing a vehicle traveling west on Forest Hill Road. Clark continued to step onto Forest Hill Road and was struck by a 2004 Ford Focus, driven by Shania Dectrice Chambliss. Chambliss stated that she was headed home from work when the incident occurred.
She stated that she noticed a man waving his arms at her, but did not see the second man when he stepped in front of her vehicle onto Forest Hill Road.

Clark was transported to the Medical Center of Central Georgia where he was pronounced dead.

Clark was age 31 from Macon. Clark’s family has been notified. No one else was injured during this incident.
This incident is under investigation by Fatality Investigators of the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office.


Fix Safety Issues here with a Roundabout

example at Asheville, NC.



There is no “jaywalking” law in Georgia.

See Section 9, page 47 of the Driver’s Manual,

In a nutshell, the law says, according to Sally Flocks, the director of Atlanta Peds.Org, that a pedestrian may cross the road anywhere they choose, if there is a non-signalized intersection between them and any other two signalized intersections.  For example, Joseph Clark who got killed on Forest Hill Road just south of Northside in 2011: There was indeed a crosswalk and a signalized intersection at FHR and Northside, but the next signalized intersection between the one at Northside and the pedestrian was at Wimbish. There are many intersections on FHR between there and Wimbish, and none signalized, so he had every right to cross wherever the heck he wanted to. Should he have used the crosswalk, maybe, but there is no law against it.

  Subject: more on seeing pedestrians and stopping in time

Unfortunately, there is a catch-22 because at greater distances the pedestrian’s image is smaller, which decreases visibility. If the driver is 4 seconds away from the pedestrian, the sight distance is about 350 feet at 60 mph and about 200 feet at 35 mph. These are great distances to see a pedestrian, possibly against a cluttered background.
At 50 mph (the average speed on our five-lane roads, it takes 175 feet (thirteen car lengths) to recognize, apply brakes and stop a car. At 40 mph it takes 118 feet (nine car lengths) to recognize, apply brakes and stop a car, so it doesn't matter what color one’s skin is, or what color clothing one is wearing, you can't stop in time.
This from Sally Flocks concerning the pedestrian death on Pio Nono earlier this year.
From: Sally Flocks []
Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 12:10 PM
To: 'Lee Martin';
Subject: RE: concerns over the way the Telegraph reports pedestrian deaths.
Lee is correct that two-way center turn lanes are a big part of the problem. Most five-lane roads were designed as rural highways and were built prior to the interstate. In many areas, the demographics have changed, but the road has not. Unless interrupted by frequent raised median refuge islands, two -way center turn lanes are not appropriate on transit corridors or areas with mixed-use development. The Georgia Department of Transportation now recognizes the value of medians and median refuge islands and plans to install these in more locations.  As Lee explained, people will not walk over half a mile out of their way to get to a signalized intersection. One-tenth of a mile is equivalent to a typical city block.   From what I could tell from a google map of the area, Pio Nono lacks sidewalks on both sides of the road. Would you walk the equivalent of six blocks on a road without sidewalks to get across the street?
Also, the fact that the person was wearing dark clothing is irrelevant. On a flat road, people wearing white clothing can be seen from 180 feet. The speed limit on Pio Nono Road is 45 MPH. Most drivers in Georgia travel 5-10 MPH above the limit.  At 50 MPH, the minimum stopping distance is 175 feet. Anyone going faster than 50 MPH would have been unable to see the pedestrian in time to stop, even if she had been wearing white clothing. And how realistic is it to assume people own and will wear a white coat whenever they walk at night?   As you know, February is a time when most people bundle up at night.
Pedestrian fatalities on multi-lane streets are due primarily to road design that is no longer appropriate for the population served by the road. It’s unfair to blame pedestrians for failing to follow unreasonable expectations.
Best regards,
Sally Flocks
President & CEO, PEDS

- CAUTION Macon -

Forest Hill Road


Same story, different road.

.."selling our souls to the damn automobile"
 - Eugene Dunwody

Published: September 9, 2013

By JOE KOVAC JR. ­ Telegraph staff writer

Pio Nono Avenue is a backbone of modern Macon. From Seven Bridges to Stanislaus, it stretches from a south side swamp to some of midtown’s most treasured estates. Though its Italian name gets mangled by locals and visitors alike, the road is a 5-mile-long reflection of who we are and how we live.


Many just trying to stay safe on the ‘roughest side of town’

The man has probably been in business on Pio Nono Avenue longer than anyone alive.

The first thing he wanted to know when I told him I was walking up and down the road for a newspaper story was whether I was insane.

“You got your life jacket on?” he asked.

“No, sir,” I said.

“You better get it before you start walking out this road,” he said.

In the late 1950s, Paul Freeman opened Tall Paul’s Campers half a mile down from where Interstate 75 now sweeps across Pio Nono. His advertisements back then frequently featured his trademark phrase “We Gottem.”

At 84, Freeman remembers when the lower reaches of Pio Nono were a dirt road. Now the speed limit is 50 mph. There are no sidewalks.

The day I visited Tall Paul’s at the end of April, the company’s front-office greeter, an elderly basset hound named Phil, was polishing off the remains of Freeman’s lunch -- takeout from Captain D’s.

Freeman didn’t have much to say about what Pio Nono and the people along it mean to Macon.

Perhaps that is too deep a subject to ponder.

Or, say, too shallow.

Maybe I was on a fool’s errand trying to divine meaning from a 5.3-mile strip of asphalt.

‘Selling our souls’

There is a string of ranch-style houses and split-levels across the road from Freeman’s dealership. Some have been converted to businesses.

One up the street is a massage parlor. A couple of years back a man had a heart attack there and died mid rubdown.

When I asked Freeman what had become of his once-country road, he deemed it “a place you can get killed mighty easy.”

He was talking about the highway whirlwind.

“I keep saying that, I know,” he said. “But it’s true. It’s a dangerous place out there. It’s hard to get out of here just to go home.”

Freeman’s was an honest perspective.

For him, one thing stands out about the road that for more than half a century has delivered his livelihood: traffic. Curious for a man who has made a living selling recreational vehicles, the very conveyances designed to carry us into and, then, to locales out of traffic’s reach.

Indeed, traffic is often the first thing we mention when people ask us, “How was your trip?”

We tend to skimp on the scenery. Especially the parts we cruise past daily; the sights that, for better or worse, define our corner of the world. We bypass so much.

Faceless freeways lead us places faster than ever, even in our hometowns. It is human nature to want to get somewhere quickly. Convenience comes at a price, however.

Think what you will of bypassed neighborhoods -- good riddance, you may say -- but communities are divided and defined by their thoroughfares. It’s easy to lose sight of areas and the people in them we no longer see.

Thirty years ago, there was much debate over the widening of a nearly two-mile swath of Pio Nono. In the end, more than two dozen families north of Eisenhower Parkway were forced to sell their homes. Then-Macon City Council President Eugene Dunwody, who opposed the widening, feared the measure’s broader ramifications.

Something Dunwody said then still resonates: “I think we’re selling our souls to the damn automobile.”

Perhaps it was no surprise that a 2011 video of a homeless man panhandling along I-71 in Ohio tallied tens of millions of Internet views. The ragged man’s name was Ted Williams. A Columbus Dispatch reporter rolled up on him at an interchange and recorded Williams, whose self-described “God-given gift of voice” bore, as the newspaper put it, “the sound of a fairy tale.”

The video made a universal connection, in part, because we’ve all seen guys bumming change at intersections, making the most of the pauses in our traffic. We have all no doubt wondered, “What’s this guy’s story?” before driving off and promptly forgetting him.

I would not run across any voice-over marvels during my three hikes up and down Pio Nono, or on dozens of trips there by car. But I would happen upon a hard-living man who for nearly two years had made his home under the bridge at I-75.

Life there was peaceful, he told me.

“You don’t know how it is,” he said, “till you try it.”

‘Every city goes down’

Riding into Macon on I-75 from the south, the Pio Nono interchange is the first exit. Heading the other way, it is the last.

The cityscape there is something of a Waffle House riviera. Less than half a mile apart, a pair of the ubiquitous eateries with their butter-pat-yellow signs flank the freeway.

The exit is also home to a McDonald’s, a KFC, an Arby’s and a once-Days Inn. There is also a hodgepodge of shopping plazas, one of which, Pio Nono Plaza at Rocky Creek Road, predates the interstate.

A lazy drainage ditch that skirts the shopping center’s parking lot swelled into a torrent during the Flood of ’94. Water swamped the lot. A man and his girlfriend cruising through in a Chevy pickup drowned when the truck floated away, sank and got sucked through an 8-foot pipe beneath Rocky Creek Road. Theirs were the only Macon deaths in the Great Flood.

In back of the McDonald’s, in a tucked-away strip mall near the ditch where the couple’s truck came to rest, the sign at the Git R Done Laundromat generates its share of yuks. Some snap photos.

The woman who runs it, Elaine Mollenkopf, keeps the door locked most of the time. Unless you’re standing outside with laundry, odds are you won’t get inside.

Mollenkopf, 57, grew up in Macon. She remembers when the McDonald’s opened, when that part of town was on the come. Banks, car washes, record shops, video-rental marts and a library would follow. Now she can sit at her desk and sometimes “watch a drug deal go down” in the parking lot.

“I guess every city goes down at some point. You just kind of try to stay safe,” Mollenkopf said.

She likes the new Bell Foods, a supermarket on the other side of the ditch that used to be a Piggly Wiggly. “It’s the cleanest,” she said. “Every can is turned the right way.”

“Then you’ve got all your Waffle Houses around here,” Mollenkopf added. “What more can you ask for?”

I mentioned that I’d seen a homeless man’s bed roll -- a pile of musty blankets and comforters -- stashed up in the girders of the I-75 overpass that spans Pio Nono.

She told me about a nearby homeless camp hidden in the brush and baby pines at the foot of the freeway embankment behind a shuttered bank.

I said I’d check it out.

“Yeah,” Mollenkopf said, “there’s probably some interesting stories.”

‘Not too good’

There was no door to knock on so I hollered.

“Anybody home?”


The homeless camp was deserted.

It was maybe 50 feet below the southbound side of the expressway.

The place reminded me of the forts my friends and I used to make in the woods as kids, carving them out of briar patches and mimosa thickets with hoes and sling blades.

The dirt floor was swept clean. There were chairs, a grill, a blue tarp, a clothesline, a fire barrel, piles of blankets. Parts of it were carpeted. It appeared to be a haven for squatters, hitchhikers and the like.

The secret spot lies along Pio Nono’s east side, just up from one of the Waffle Houses and the KFC.

I poked around a few minutes then tromped through the weeds toward Arby’s and civilization.

Across the road at Pio Nono Plaza, I took a break and sat down on a retaining wall made of crossties. The wall fends off the drainage-ditch stream that flows beneath five lanes of Pio Nono at the parking lot’s edge.

I picked up a half-eaten apple and tossed it in the reddish-brown water below. Minnows flickered. I counted seven old tires and a Coors Light can. Graffiti spray-painted on a culvert wall beneath the road declared that someone named Daniel’s rear end had once been “in this water.”

Behind me across the parking lot, an unkempt man was plunked down near the front door of a Hispanic grocery. He waved and I headed over.

“How’s it going?” I said.

“Not too good.”
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