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Published on September 9th, 2015 |

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Keep eyes on West Paces Ferry for restriping again, new refuge island

Buckhead Community Improvement District Transportation and Planning Director Brian McHugh told his board in late August that the city would begin “right after Labor Day” to correct the

The last restriping of West Paces Road left both motorists and bicyclists confused  as to where the lanes headed.

The last restriping of West Paces Road left both motorists and bicyclists confused as to where the lanes headed.

mess it created when it last restriped West Paces Ferry Road from East Andrews Drive to Peachtree Road.

Of course, the Buckhead CID is going to be contributing quite a bit toward the new improvements in that section of West Paces Ferry by providing the funding for a refuge island and flashing caution light for a safer mid-block crossing in front of the Whole Foods Market.

As has been reported for many months, the city Public Works Department responded to a plethora of complaints from the CID, local businesses and Buckhead residents about the last restriping they did on West Paces, which confused drivers and bikers alike.

This pohoto shows the new lane configuration on Pharr Road looking east toward Frankie Allen Park on the right.

This pohoto shows the new lane configuration on Pharr Road looking east toward Frankie Allen Park on the right.

The new plan for the city’s restriping of the road is to not have a bike lane that weaves into and across traffic lanes and to ensure that the traffic lanes are clearly marked and easy to follow.

Meanwhile, Pharr Road finally has its new car and bicycle lanes after a long summertime painting project that left some drivers bewildered with overlapping lanes and no continuous striping for months on end. It remains to be seen whether the new lanes will do their job of easing traffic flow and make bicycle riding safer.

“I think, from my point of view, it’s doing well,” said McHugh this past summer. But, McHugh added, “The background traffic’s still not heavy… the test comes when school’s back in session.” That likely is still being studied.

But Buckhead resident Jim Cosgrove has another viewpoint. “It’s a terrible idea,” said Neighborhood Planning Unit-B board member Cosgrove, who

This photo shows the lane striping of Pharr Road at it approaches the intersection with Peachtree Road.

This photo shows the lane striping of Pharr Road at it approaches the intersection with Peachtree Road.

has been an outspoken opponent of reducing traffic lanes for bike lanes on major Buckhead thoroughfares. “It’s far worse than what we had before,” he added.

Cosgrove predicted real traffic problems will show up next spring, when Buckhead Baseball begins its busy season at Frankie Allen Park. That traffic enters and exists onto Pharr Road. He predicted traffic jams will force some drivers who use Pharr to cross Buckhead to weave their way through nearby neighborhood streets instead, such as through Garden Hills.

The BCID proposed the restriping project earlier this year, targeting Pharr Road between Peachtree and Piedmont roads. Almost all of the previous four- and five-lane set-up was changed to two travel lanes and a central turn lane, plus a bike lane on either side. There are areas along the road where on-street parking also was added.

This another photo of the lane striping of Pharr Road  westbound approaching the intersection with Peachtree Road

This another photo of the lane striping of Pharr Road westbound approaching the intersection with Peachtree Road

The primary goals for the re-striping were calming traffic flow, encouraging bike riding and easing turns at the Peachtree and Piedmont intersections, as well as at other intersections along the route.

The city of Atlanta carried out the restriping this spring and summer, wrapping up around the beginning of July. The work drew complaints for dragging on for months and for temporary lane markings that were confusing and even dangerous to drivers.

Richard Mendoza, the director of the city’s Department of Public Works, eventually paid a personal visit to make sure the street work was wrapping

Approaching Buckhead Atlanta westbound on Pharr Road, on-street parking ends and a deceleration lane begins to entering the Buckhead Atlanta parking garage.

Approaching Buckhead Atlanta westbound on Pharr Road, on-street parking ends and a deceleration lane begins to entering the Buckhead Atlanta parking garage.

up properly, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
“The temporary and permanent striping were overlapping each other,” McHugh said. “It’s good that [work] happened in the summertime.”

The restriping plan got a mixed response from residents and business owners when it was presented at a BCID-sponsored meeting in March.

The smoothest of the re-striping projects was done on East Paces Ferry Road from Peachtree to Piedmont roads. One reason was that very little was actually changed.

But, it takes time to figure out whether these road changes are improvements or just the opposite. It takes time, studies and a review of accident reports.

Also, time will tell if the reworking of West Paces Ferry Road will actually begin now that Labor Day has passed, or whether it will face further delays.

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    One Response to Keep eyes on West Paces Ferry for restriping again, new refuge island

    1. Charlie L. says:

      What a waste of taxpayers money. Having to restripe not one but two roads. Where does the city find these incompetent work crews?

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