Published on April 29th, 2015 |0
CID chair on Peachtree Rd. project: ‘Bring this to a head’
“We have invested a lot of time on this,” David Allman said in reference to the two remaining segments of Peachtree Road improvements that the CID has spearheaded for several years now, including Phase 3 that is one block from Maple Drive to Shadowlawn Avenue.
The board heard that construction on Phase 3 might not start until the winter of 2017 and that the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), as of last week, still was not ready with its “preferred option” for Phase 4 of the project, from Shadowlawn Avenue to Sheridan Drive.
The plans for the Phase 3 segment, which involves federal funding, should get final review by the GDOT in June, according to the CID’s Director of Transportation and Planning Brian McHugh. But construction may not start until 2017, McHugh told the CID board.
McHugh explained that they are beginning the process to hire a right-of-way consultant and hope to have a right-of-way plan submitted by August. That would be followed by meetings with stakeholders and he said the right-of-way purchasing process would begin in January 2016.
There are six parcels of property involved in the right-of-way purchases and McHugh predicted conservatively that it could take a full year to complete the right-of-way purchases, explaining that federal funds are being used for those purchases.
Allman, one of metro Atlanta’s most successful developers, voiced disbelief that it would take a full 12 months to negotiate and purchase six parcels of right-of-way. When he
was told by Executive Director Jim Durrett the estimate was conservative, it could only take six months, Allman still asked, “Why would it take six months for six parcels?”
McHugh said federal funds are being used to purchase the right-of-way and “we don’t know how fast the property owners will sell.
Durrett emphasized that the process isn’t going to be strung out to make it take 12 months, but it might. “If we can accomplish everything in six months or less, we will,” he told Allman and the board. “But we don’t want to give an optimistic date and not be able to make it.”
McHugh then turned his attention to progress on Phase 4 of the Peachtree Road project. He said he and Durrett met with GDOT a week ago “to find out where they are in determining their preferred option for that segment in the heart of the Buckhead Village area.
McHugh reported that GDOT was not ready yet with their preferred option, because they are looking at alternatives for each segment from Shadowlawn all the way down to I-85 in Brookwood. They are considering the road segments likely may be different north and south of Wesley Road and differ again south of Peachtree Battle Avenue.
Dist. 7 Atlanta City Councilman Howard Shook, who along with Dist. 8 Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean represents that area south to I-85, told his fellow CID board members that no one from GDOT or traffic and transportation consultants have talked to any member of City Council for many, many months about the projects and/or alternatives.
Durrett indicated everyone thought “staff” were talking to Shook and other council members and that is when Allman stated: “We need to do what is necessary to bring this to a head.” Durrett said he would attempt to set up a meeting with GDOT and all parties immediately.
The attention on road projects then turned to the restriping and repaving of East and West Paces Ferry and Pharr roads, as well as the previously stalled work on the left turn lane from Piedmont Road onto Habersham Road.
McHugh reported that the city has gone out to remark E. Paces Ferry Road from Peachtree Road to Bolling Way to provide a dedicated left turn lane off of eastbound East Paces Ferry onto Bolling Way and a dedicated through lane for East Paces Ferry traffic.
Cars in the dedicated left-turn lane will not be able to proceed straight on East Paces Ferry once the restriping is completed. The new markings also include a new crosswalk for pedestrians trying to get from one side of East Paces to the other at the Bolling Way intersection.
McHugh said the city plans to restripe both East Paces and Pharr roads around May 17, however, there remained some discussion of the restriping plans for Pharr Road during the CID meeting Tuesday.
CID vice chairman John Lundeen questioned whether a deceleration lane should be included in the plans for westbound Pharr Road as it approaches the entrance to the Buckhead Atlanta parking garage some 100 feet before getting to Peachtree Road.
There was some discussion that such a deceleration lane would reduce the chances of accidents occurring as motorists get in line to enter the parking garage, especially during certain peak periods of the day.
Lundeen also questioned if anyone had talked with the Post Office about changes that were being planned for left turn access into its parking lot from the westbound lanes of Pharr Road just off of Piedmont Road. He was told no, the Post Office had not been informed of the possible changes.
Asked about the work to be done to fix the problematic situation on West Paces Ferry Road, between Peachtree Road and Slaton Drive, McHugh said
the Atlanta Public Works department has told the CID “stay on us and it will get done.” But, he added, there is no schedule for it.
McHugh told the CID board that the Public Works has now said the CID should pay directly for the crosswalk, refuge median and flashing warning light it wants installed in front of the Whole Foods market and connecting to the other side of West Paces at One Buckhead Plaza building.
And finally, McHugh reported that work has restarted on the turn lane and intersection project at Piedmont and Habersham roads after the labor conflict was resolved.
However, McHugh said the project was stalled for two to three months. It originally was to have been completed in May but now may conflict with the back to school traffic, which the CID had sought to avoid.