Brookhaven, GA, May 27, 2016 – by Trey Benton – A very interested and engaged crowd of about 80 Brookhaven residents, who are concerned about traffic and what the City is doing about it, attended a “Traffic” Town Hall meeting hosted by Mayor John Ernst Thursday evening.
“Traffic is not a Brookhaven problem. It’s a regional problem,” said Mayor Ernst. “We cannot fix traffic. We can mitigate it here and there and that requires cooperation, communication and cash.” He said that with more than 35,000 cars using Brookhaven as a cut-through every day, traffic is not caused by Brookhaven residents. “Only 4.7% of Brookhaven residents work in the City,” he added. “So we are all going somewhere else during travel times each day.”
In attendance were representatives from ARC, GDOT, Gresham Smith & Partners, Kimley-Horn & Associates, City of Brookhaven Staff and Elected Officials who all weighed in on the conversation.
Rob Ross, a project manager with Kimley-Horn who is working with MARTA on their traffic study relating to their planned Transit Oriented Development (TOD) at the Brookhaven/Oglethorpe MARTA station, gave residents and other consultants in the crowd, a “sneak-peek” of what they are working on. He said by request of the City, they shared the following concepts, something Ross says, they never do at this early point in the process.
Two significant intersections located on both ends of the planned TOD were shared.
Peachtree Rd. at Dresden Drive:
Ross said this initial concept allows for the addition of a left turn lane Eastbound on Brookhaven drive and restriping along Dresden Drive to add another Westbound lane underneath the MARTA and railroad tracks approaching Peachtree Road. He said the concept would add two turn lanes from Dresden Drive to Peachtree Road as well as provide for three thru-lanes on Northbound Peachtree Rd.
Peachtree Rd. at North Druid Hills Rd.:
At this intersection, Kimley-Horn proposes taking the right-hand turn lane that goes in to Brookhaven Plaza, and making it a thru-lane on the Southbound side of Peachtree Rd. Also headed Southbound, the concept shows two left-hand turn lanes on to North Druid.
On North Druid Hills, improvements would be made to allow more stacking for traffic that intends to cross Peachtree Rd. or going straight across to Brookhaven Plaza. The existing two right-hand turn lanes would remain for traffic headed North on Peachtree Rd. Both the Dresden Drive and North Druid Hills Road plans are part of their 2019 vision.
A topic of concern for attendees was traffic cutting through their neighborhoods, and they said this cut through traffic needs to be incorporated in the traffic study counts because they may show lower numbers if only the main thoroughfares are contemplated. Ross said they plan to include the peripheral streets in their counts because once improvements are made to the main roads, the cut through traffic coming back on to the main roads could counteract those improvements. He agreed those drivers need to be taken in to account as well.
Jamie Cochran, SVP of Transportation Planning, for Gresham, Smith and Partners, gave a presentation on the progress of the Ashford-Dunwoody Corridor study. This study encompasses the area of Ashford Dunwoody Road, between I-285 and Peachtree Road. The purpose of the study is to develop a vision for a multimodal corridor that:
- Serves the needs of all users of the corridor
- Is harmonious with existing development and future growth along the corridor
- Minimizes negative impacts to property owners and neighborhoods along the corridor
- Is cost-effective and able to be implemented
- Has broad community support from citizens, stakeholders, and other partners
Back in October of 2015, Brookhaven’s City Council Members awarded Gresham, Smith and Partners a $125,000 contract to study and develop a comprehensive vision for the Ashford Dunwoody Road corridor. The City explains the study area will be divided into separate character areas based on traffic and adjacent land use, then a vision will be developed for each character area. The final corridor vision will consist of, at minimum, the following for each character area:
- Typical Roadway and Right-of-way Sections
- Intersection and Lane use configurations
- Recommendations for bicycle and pedestrian facilities including pedestrian crossing locations and connections to adjacent facilities and paths.
- Streetscape Standards including hardscape, landscape, and lighting recommendations
In September, Cochran says a “community Charrette” will be held. She said the City Council is expected to contemplate the recommendations by November.
The City has a page on the City Website dedicated to the Ashford Dunwoody Corridor Study here: http://www.brookhavenga.gov/city-departments/public-works/ashford-dunwoody-road-corridor-study
Citizen input is encouraged. The city has set up an email address for the Ashford Dunwoody Corridor Study. They can be reached via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Much more in the video attached to this Post. The presentation Cochran delivered Thursday is below.