Published on October 6th, 2015 |2
GDOT taking Peachtree Rd. redo plan message to resident groups
project—its operations and safety analysis—prior to the open general public meeting at the end of October.
On Oct. 1, Heath explained the proposal to attendees at the monthly meeting of the Buckhead Condo Alliance. This Thursday evening, Oct. 8, he will discuss it at the monthly meeting of the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods at the Peachtree Presbyterian Church.
Although there was a misunderstanding as to whether or not Heath had been invited to speak at the BCN meeting last month, everyone is quite sure he is the principle speaker at this month’s meeting, which begins at 6:45 p.m. in room 2209 at the church, located at 3434 Roswell Road.
Heath’s presentations at these meetings are all leading up to Oct. 29, when the general public will have a chance to learn first-hand about the proposed changes to Peachtree Road—from Maple Drive to Deering Road and I-85. A public open house information meeting will take place from 5-7 p.m. in the Callaway Auditorium of the Shepherd Center, 2020 Peachtree Road in south Buckhead.
Heath has made some additions and improvements to the presentation he first made before the board of the Buckhead Community Improvement District on Aug. 25. (To read BuckheadView’s coverage of that presentation, click here.) He is proud of some
of the new graphics included.
The first time he showed the improved presentation was at the Buckhead Condo Alliance meeting and he spent at least an hour and a half discussing the project and then answering questions from residents—both those sent to him in advance of the meeting and those raised by those attending the meeting.
What has not changed since the Aug. 25 presentation to the BCID board is the GDOT Recommended Alternative for the transformation of Peachtree Road from Pharr Road to Deering Road. And it is the preferred alternative that will be presented to the BCN Thursday night and the general public on Oct. 29.
The GDOT Recommended Alternative calls for a new dedicated two-way left-turn lane for the entire stretch from Pharr Road to Deering Road, which will be accompanied by new traffic signals to further ease left turns along the corridor.
It calls for three 10-foot-wide thru traffic lanes southbound and two 10-foot-wide thru traffic lanes northbound from Pharr Road south to Peachtree Battle Avenue.
From Peachtree Battle Avenue south to Deering Road, Peachtree would have two 10-foot-wide thru traffic lanes both northbound and southbound, with the center left-turn lane and 4-foot-wide bike lanes on both sides of the road for bikers
traveling north and south along that part of the corridor.
Heath explained to the BCA crowd that the plan would be for bicycle riders to leave Peachtree Road between Pharr Road and Peachtree Battle Avenue and use neighborhood surface streets for their travels. He pointed out Peachtree Battle Avenue already has bike lanes on it and there are plans for the BeltLine trail to connect to Peachtree Road near Peachtree Battle Avenue.
He also pointed out to those attending the meeting that the new PATH400 trail project is planned to connect to the BeltLine trail near Piedmont Road and Peachtree Creek in south Buckhead. The BeltLine trail would then follow Peachtree Creek to Peachtree Road.
The GDOT proposal does not call for widening Peachtree Road at all along the corridor. Heath explained that Peachtree Road is a narrow 60-feet-wide from curb to curb the entire length of the corridor from Pharr Road to Deering Road.
Heath pointed out four major reasons for the Peachtree Road Project: 1) The road is due for repaving and there is an opportunity for restriping changes with the repaving, 2) safety needs were identified, 3) GDOT identified that making left turns is challenging along the corridor, and 4) there is a low (15 percent) utilization rate of the far left lanes in each direction.
The reason there is low utilization of the far left lanes is because drivers are afraid of getting trapped behind vehicles that are trying to turn left, Heath explained.
Heath said that 801 traffic accidents on the corridor between 2009 and 2013 shows the safety needs for changes. Of those accidents, 11 involved bicyclists and 42 pedestrians.
GDOT studied a total of six alternatives before deciding on the called the “Peachtree Battle Hybrid Alternative” as its recommendation.
In terms of operations, Heath said that alternative provides a more uniform system of vehicles through the corridor during both a.m. and p.m. hours, it allows for a more reliable commute and it increases the average throughput volume on Peachtree Road.
One thing it does not do is provide an answer to the most-voiced concern at the BCA meeting about traffic on Peachtree Road: the excessive speed at which drivers travel in the corridor. Heath told them that problem is up to the local police to deal with through enforcement of the 35 mile per hour speed limit on the road.
But, Heath told the BCA audience, the Recommended Alternative does achieve all of GDOT’s goals: 1) the roadway will be repaved, 2) it improves safety for all road users, 3) it improves corridor reliability and operations, (4) it creates multimodal access on Peachtree to the BeltLine, and 5) it is sensitive to neighborhoods, residents and
A large audience is expected for Heath’s presentation at the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods meeting Thursday night, since about 50 people showed up in September thinking he would be speaking at that meeting. But don’t blame Heath, folks, because he apparently was never invited. He vowed to be there this Thursday.
The BCN also has asked members to submit questions in advance so that they can be forwarded on to Heath and he can prepare answers for those attending the meeting.
Also on the meeting agenda, BCN secretary Gordon Certain will discuss a formal response from Buckhead neighborhoods regarding plans for a Streetcar connection on Peachtree Road. He plans to encourage BCN neighborhoods to ask their residents to participate in a survey he has created for residents of his North Buckhead neighborhood.
The survey asks for the participant’s address so it will be possible to sort out responses geographically, if necessary. He will also ask print and online media to make their readership aware that the survey is open to the public so a broader population will be able to express views.