Published on December 9th, 2015 |0
GDOT still analyzing 2,000 Peachtree Rd. comments, but bike lanes iffy
In fact, Buckhead Coalition President Sam Massell told BuckheadView, “The word I hear on the street is that the bike lanes are not going to be done. But I cannot speak for GDOT,” Massell added.
On Nov. 23, BuckheadView reported that Massell had sent a letter to GDOT stating that the “Buckhead Coalition has taken a strong position in opposition to the proposed bicycle lanes on parts of Peachtree Road in Buckhead” after polling its membership of 100 CEOs of major area firms, and collecting data from several community meetings on the subject.
In his letter to GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry, Massell stated, “We respectfully urge the state, our city, and our (Buckhead) CID to discontinue any further consideration of adding any such bike lanes on this public right-of-way.”
GDOT has not publicly announced the fate of its plan—especially the bike lanes—but has acknowledged it had received a deluge of emails, calls and letters about the project. A spokeswoman for the department said last week that a decision would come this week.
The bicycle lanes were to be just one component of a larger GDOT safety-oriented improvement project for that part of the Peachtree Road corridor—about three miles between Pharr and Deering roads.
The bike lanes would have been limited to the southern end of Peachtree, a 1.4-mile stretch that extends from Peachtree Battle Avenue to Deering Road according to the plan shown to the public earlier in November at a public information meeting.
The project also involves the addition of a two-way turn lane in the center of the road for the full length from Pharr to Deering. Traffic engineers say the center turn lane would cut down on accidents that are presently caused when drivers stop in the far left lane while waiting to turn left.
The segment from Pharr Road to Peachtree Battle Avenue would have three thru traffic lanes southbound and two northbound with the two-way center left-turn lane.
From Peachtree Battle to Deering, the GDOT plan called for two thru traffic lanes northbound and southbound with a center two-way left-turn lane and 4-foot-wide bike lanes on each side of the road.
When contacted by BuckheadView during the first week of December with questions about public responses to the project and whether or not GDOT planned to alter its plans, State Traffic Engineer Andrew Heath said no decisions had yet been made but that he anticipated GDOT would be discussing the results of its findings with stakeholders by mid-December.
Department of Transportation officials received nearly 2,000 comments on the project since the comment period closed Nov. 16, DOT said in a press release. The agency had said it would respond to the comments within 30 days, but extended the period without announcing a specific date.
“We are diligently documenting each comment submitted to the Department about the proposed Peachtree Road project,” Carleton Fisher, DOT project manager, said in the press release. “Citizens who submitted a comment via email, mail, court reporter or online will receive a response letter from the Georgia DOT after each comment is reviewed.”
Typically, the department advertises that it will respond to all comments within 30 days, but they extended the comment period from the original
deadline of Nov. 9 to Nov. 16 to accommodate the ongoing deluge of input.
In his letter, Massell wrote: “From our members and from the general public, it appears that the argument we face concerning adding bike lanes now to part of Peachtree separates at about age 30 for those in favor against those opposed. On a popular vote, we believe that would calculate to as many as 63 percent being in opposition.”
Massell told BuckheadView that the Buckhead community is not opposed to bike lanes per se. “Eleven miles of existing bike lanes in Buckhead are shown in the Buckhead Guidebook, which the Coalition publishes each year.
Department spokespeople have indicated they will release an official decision on the project this week, according to a report by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.