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39 Comments

  1. 1

    Bob Sorrentino

    I’m not sure a well planned traffic solution and walkable aspects of Dresden are mutually exclusive. Why can’t we have both?

  2. 2

    #nomoreapartmentsondresden

    Mr. Eyre not only is traffic an ongoing issue but so is speeding, which BPD has yet to handle. I have had several close calls while walking to and fro the restaurants in Brookhaven from our home. One time a woman sped up while I was in the middle of the new crosswalks and flipped me off while on her cell phone.

    Regarding the extra “42 or 67 seconds”, I do mind the extra minute or two it takes me to get up and down Dresden to my home. Now they are parking on my street because there is not enough parking. Some genius thought it was a good idea to only build a two story parking deck and let the valet monopolize the entire top portion. The bottom portion is often empty. I get it, the patrons have no where to par. It needs to be more regulated and how about another parking deck and no more stupid apartments!

  3. 3

    Jennifer

    Mr Eyre,
    I agree, we don’t need to create a major corridor on Dresden, actually like you I can tolerate some peak hour congestion if it forces other alternatives. What I can’t tolerate is when those alternatives are our neighborhood streets with families trying to walk to the local establishments or just walking their dogs and babies around the block. Reading your comments here it sounds like you and I are in agreement, there is an issue that is much larger than Brookhaven and there is no mitigation available so that means no more density increases…. fine with me!

  4. 4

    Betsy Eggers

    What a clear-eyed, factual piece regarding Dresden traffic. Thank you, Jim, for taking the time to write it. So true — making cars able to go faster on a street does not improve the experience or safety for bikes, pedestrians, or the passengers of those cars! And a faster Dresden will just attract more car commuter seeking I-85, Clairmont-to-Decatur, Buckhead, etc. Keep speaking up — we’ll listen!

  5. 5

    Chad

    Jim,

    Thank you for a well thought out article. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, especially yours, because you speak for so many people.

    As Mayor J said, “Traffic is not a Brookhaven problem. It’s a regional problem; We cannot fix traffic; We can mitigate it here and there and that requires cooperation, communication and cash.” Yet, Comprehensive Plans turns out to be simply a suggestion, not the guideline for process we were promised. Campaign speeches about traffic solutions, immediate character area studies and preliminary traffic and sewer requirements for MARTA mire in the dust of forgotten meetings. Small, one-off traffic studies are completed for the loudest voices. The implementation of these studies will push more cars onto already crowded arterial roads.

    Citizens demand solutions to our myriad of traffic problems via the Comprehensive Plan. It is widely lauded as a guide to our future, then shelved and completely ignored like so many other $100K studies the city has completed.

    I, however, do not share your vision of self replicating traffic calming measures via more traffic. I do share your insistence that the alphabet soup of agencies and our elected officials fix traffic through meaningful CONSTRUCTION changes and NEW PAVEMENT at the following:

    Peachtree and North Druid Hills
    Peachtree and Dresden
    North Druid Hills and Briarwood Road
    Briarwood Road and Buford Highway

    Finally, the Brookhaven Peachtree Overlay District created in 2006 needs minor tweaks. I’ll be presenting a Sub Area III in the next few weeks outlining a boundary on Dresden Drive all the way West to Apple Valley and North Druid Hills. It will cap new structures at 3 stories with a maximum density of RM-75.

    Thanks for continuing to be one of the strongest leaders in our community. Your informed opinion is highly valued for its effort, experience and research.

  6. 6

    Janine

    Wow! I didn’t realize I was so happy or the role that alcohol played in making traffic acceptable. Bates has been fixing traffic congestion daily and continually!

  7. 7

    Riley OConnor

    Thanks, Jim. One thing is becoming clear, and that is that the traffic light at Dresden / Ellijay / Caldwell is contributing to the problem, no matter what time of day. And, if there’s going to be a light at Dresden / Appalachee as proposed last night, the street is going to look like Park Avenue in NYC, with a long row of lights turning the same color at the same time.

  8. 8

    Ida Beth

    My concern is Ashford Dunwoody. I have lived there 40 years and it makes me cringe every time a young person moves in and insists that Ashford Dunwoody needs to be widened. That would only bring in more cars and make it an even more attractive route for more hospital workers.
    Could we make an exit off 285 at the Cox bridge for hospital workers that would take cars off Ash- Dun?. Or do what Emory Hosp. and Univ. do and have an off site parking lot and bus the workers in. When I worked at Emory I parked at No DeKalb Mall and took the Emory bus into the campus.
    I am also an advocate for more busses, but small ones that are in and around the neighborhoods and maybe more people would use public transportation.

  9. 9

    Easy Rider

    Excellent points Jim. Making Brookhaven more walkable is key to maintaining our quality of life. It doesn’t mean we give up on traffic solutions, but traffic is a reality & will improve only marginally no matter what is done. Sidewalks. What is the status of the planned sidewalks around Brookhaven Village?

  10. 10

    Janice

    I cannot understand why Brookhaven police are not doing a better job of ticketing all the red light runners on Ashford Dunwoody. I also agree there is no benefit to Brookhaven to widen roads. All it will do is encourage even more people to drive thru Brookhaven as opposed to staying on the i285.

  11. 11

    Justin Owings

    Some great comments so far! A few points:

    1 – the stat about 4.7% work in the City is useful but masks the broader point; 95% of [some large number] of people have to get home via Brookhaven streets — that’s today.

    Proposed developments that increase density will increase traffic (the delta) — that is, 95% of [some large number + THE NEW RESIDENTS] now have to use Brookhaven Streets to get out to work and back home again. That’s a sustained/permanent increase in traffic load.

    This is the real crux of the problem. Development proposals are great if they can somewhat maintain the status quo without overly burdening existing residents with excessive use of common resources (roads, utilities, stormwater).

    2 – the 10K trips numbers are on Dresden – what about all the backroads that are being used to get to/from by commuters who opt-out of using Dresden? The GDOT numbers don’t capture that aspect of traffic, at all. What hints at the real impact is that speed humps are spreading like a virus in Ashford Park, Brookhaven Fields, Drew Valley, etc.

    3 – traffic and cars as far as the eye can see = intimidating to walkers — as in, when you see a huge number of cars on the road, it’s scary to pedestrians = diminished walkability. It’s dicey to navigate the exchange at Ellijay/Dresden/Caldwell — FOR CARS — it’s dicey for people on foot, too. Ever cross Peachtree from Dresden to Dunkin Donuts on foot with kids? I have. I do. And it’s very intimidating — and that’s at 730 in the morning on a Saturday.

    4 – sidewalks — where are they? The only way to get from the Village Brookhaven surrounding area by foot is by walking on neighborhood roads until you get to Dresden. And Dresden, itself, is only sidewalked in part — as in, we don’t have sidewalks on both sides of the street

    I love the ability to walk to restaurants but when we talk about traffic, let’s be smart and not gloss over important details. That means considering secondary effects of permanent increases in density, the effect of backed up traffic on pedestrians, the missing elements of walkability (sidewalks), etc.

    And let’s not approve developments that create immediate problems today if we (the City) can’t simultaneously provide mitigating solutions.

  12. 12

    BH Resident

    I agree Jim, great article. We need to go on a road diet! Faster roads in Brookhaven will only cause more volume to head our way!

    Heaven forbid we end up like Venice, Amsterdam, Madrid & Madison, WI. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_car-free_places

  13. 13

    Bob Sorrentino

    Good points Justin. Also the GDOT traffic count on Dresden is just east of N Thompson which would not capture any of traffic load that funneled off prior to Ashford.

  14. 14

    Joe Seconder

    Well said! It’s time to build streets for PEOPLE again. Great post from the Strong Towns blog as a reference: http://www.strongtowns.org/slowthecars/

  15. 15

    Jennifer

    Thanks Justin,
    I’d add to your response that if it were all “cut thru” traffic or “Gwinnett commuters” as stated in another thread, we would see the traffic on Peachtree, North Druid Hills and Dresden only but… try walking down Sylvan, Caldwell, Drew Valley, Ashford, Redding, Thompson and North Thompson. Lovely safe neighborhood streets – at 3am. How come on Saturday at noon it took 4 lights to make a left from Peachtree South on to Dresden? I guess it was all the commuters again. How come when turning on to Dresden where traffic is backed up by the time I get to Buford Highway a large percentage of the drivers have left Dresden and turned in to the neighborhoods – is there another cut thru that I am not aware of – Please share.

    Yes, we are a grouping of suburban neighborhoods in the path to a major urban city and we will have cut thru traffic but we have created our own traffic with infill and increased density buildings. That problem will not go away when you put 1327+ apartments (700+206+121+272), 28 town-homes, and hundreds of thousands of square feet of offices, retail, restaurants and civic space near the Dresden Peachtree intersection.

    Let’s get real, the D2, D3 area is about to be impacted like we never imagined and city leaders trying to tell us that it is all cut thru traffic is infuriating at best. Did they really believe the person that said they were right because the residents use their hovercrafts to move about so they weren’t part of the problem?

    I’m for one really tired of being told that I am a nimby and that I don’t want development. Let me spell it out ONE more time. We were sold on the fact that since we were in the most popular zip code and growing we would have to see development along Dresden and Peachtree. We were told it would be in the vein of what already exist on Dresden but I can’t for the life of me see how @1377 and Alta are like the Haven and Village Place developments. I’m going to the meetings and listening to the developers and just not making the connection of how TP and Connolly are extending the vision we were sold along Dresden. I’m not saying we can’t tweak it a little but I’m hearing that there is more work to be done to have buy in on those two developments. I don’t ever recall hearing that Lindbergh plus density would be put at the Brookhaven Marta station and no where in my memory did I hear 8-10 story buildings on Peachtree. With that said, I’m going to fight for what my neighbors and I were sold on and hopefully we will get it. In the interim Mr. Eyer, enjoy your drinks and hope you will come around to understand what the majority of us want to see in our neighborhood.

  16. 16

    Nameless

    why do you care… you just requested to have your streets blocked off from the traffic?

  17. 17

    Toff

    BPD could fund the entire Brookhaven budget by writing tickets on AD.

  18. 18

    Toff

    Tax the buggers off the roads:

    The Congestion Charge is an £11.50 daily charge for driving a vehicle within the charging zone between 07:00 and 18:00, Monday to Friday. The easiest way to pay the charge is by registering for Congestion Charge Auto Pay. There are a range of exemptions and discounts available to certain vehicles and individuals.

  19. 19

    Hunter Burke

    I hate to say it, I’m starting to lose faith in Mayor Ernst, he’s buck-passing the traffic problems, not developing the character area studies as promised, not placing any moratorium on rezoning pending traffic solutions as promised, and, all the developments seem to be moving forward regardless of problems they’ll create.
    Stand up Mayor Ernst, we need leadership not empty promises.

  20. 20

    resident

    Although BPD has their HQ on Buford Hwy they still spend far too much time “policing” that area. They can point to the number of tickets written as supposed proof of their needed presence but the sad reality is that they can go anywhere and write tickets. They choose to focus on Buford Hwy to the detriment of Dresden – Peachtree – Ashford Dunwoody – etc.

    Drive along Buford Hwy in the evening and you’ll see for yourself.

  21. 21

    Tomato-Eating Chipmunk

    Is this a cut and paste? Where will Brookhaven people come up with pounds sterling?

  22. 22

    Bird-Shot For Varmits

    Yes, we voted to get out of the EU. Missed you at the polls, but we did it anyway.

  23. 23

    John Pastore

    “I was puzzling this traffic thing the other day as I drove down Dresden Drive,…” “Drove down?” “… something I have done almost every day for the 15 years I have lived in Ashford Park. The few extra minutes in rush hour traffic allows me time to appreciate the walkable community along Dresden….” How nice. “… with its diverse collection of high quality restaurants and shops. Dinner at Haven or a pint at Kaleidoscope…” Nice plug. Mr. Eyre, when have you last, if ever, actually walked the community? Actually walked home along Caldwell from Dresden? Along the dog-leg and beyond? See the scars on the curb? From drunk drivers jumping the curb in their mad dash through the neighborhood? Looking for respite? Thanks to especially Kaleidoscpe, the “respite” can be permenent. Not even a “flashing cautionary sign.” Not even a speed bump!

  24. 24

    Easy Rider

    Maintaining a live/walk community is key to attracting progressive young professionals. I’m referring to desirable young professionals that have a vested interest in the community and own properties. At least one thing most of us agree on is that we should fight high density rental housing. Traffic is a reality, but we shouldn’t compromise on any sub-par Developments that will make it worse.

  25. 25

    Eddie E.

    Nice article Jim, the problem is obvious.
    Increased density in the choked area will only make the problem worse.
    The solution is there at the intersection of Dresden, Peachtree, N.Druid, the MARTA station.
    As long as our neighbor counties are intransigent against reasonable transit expansion, the problem will only get worse for EVERY ‘cut through town’.
    It is truly time for a “Density Moratorium” for Brookhaven and every other municipality choked by inadequate access between home and work through any method but intown streets.
    While the pointless resistance OTP is likely to continue, there is nothing stopping those of us in the current MARTA counties from taking the leap to build the ‘Emory Corridor’ now.
    Sufficient vision (and ‘cash’ as the Mayor stated) could put light or heavy rail paralleling I-285.
    Meanwhile, those who have seized power in North Fulton seem to believe that “express buses” will solve the problem.
    Other cities with higher density have dealt with this problem long ago. It’s not cheap, but what about modern Civilization is?
    Or we could do nothing and wait until walking is the only option left.

  26. 26

    Come on!

    Mr. Eyre is a developer and has his hands in the developers pockets. Did you expect anything different?

  27. 27

    bldvl89

    I’m all for that light at Dresden/Appalachee, because with 314 cars now coming to that little 2 acre corner, anything that will keep those cars on Dresden and away from Canoochee and Brookhaven Fields is a plus to me.

  28. 28

    Jimmie

    I have been all over the BPD about speeders. They were very clear in telling me that “by law” the vehicles, ALL of them – regardless of the type – can travel at 49 miles per hour before they are stopped. The sign on AD Road clearly states no trucks over 18 tons and 30 feet in length are allowed. Truck after truck – heavy haulers (average weight of an excavator is 82k pounds), 53 footers, loaded down tankers full of fuel, dump trucks, car haulers and boat haulers travel down our road. Most of these trucks are flying. Two days ago very large, very long what looked like commercial horse trailers came by. I work from home and have a front seat 11 hours a day to AD Road. I get rattled out of my chair when they jake brake downthe hill. Believe me, common sense and safety lose when it comes to speed enforcement. When the speed limit was raised to 40 mph, they said it was because they had to in order to run radar. The GODT guy said at the town hall it was because they did a traffic study and the average speed was too high for the road to remain 35 MPH – maybe the two go hand in hand – who knows. I have offered to let them sit in my driveway and run all the radar they want. They have yet to take me up on that.

    I follow the trucks when I can, 90% are cut through. I even asked couldn’t they at least be stopped and told to slow down and given reminders that they are not allowed on the road. Shrugging of shoulders.

    Hope none of them goes flying around the blind curve at the Y when there are a bunch of kinds crossing!

    We could make a fortune on tickets!!

    Very frustrating to say the least. Can you imagine how fast it would if the road did get widened. The lady from the AD Rd Corridor project said that narrowing the lanes would slow the traffice down. HELLO…they STRAIGHTENED AD Road when the bridge was replaced. We tried to keep the curve just because of what is happening now but hey – what do we know, we just live here.

  29. 29

    Toff

    Yes it is. I have to say its worked well in London. I think $20 a day should put people off , don’t you?

  30. 30

    Dean

    Jimmie, just make sure you come to a full stop at stop signs in Brookhaven Heights. Important things first you know.

  31. 31

    Susan

    No matter how good the guys and gals are making up a police force are, they are no better than their management and its focus of enforcement. The focus of our police department apparently is on anything that touts its public image, easy revenue related traffic stops and babysitting certain neighborhoods. As bad as J. Max degraded DeKalb police I find that they were much more focused on policing our area than what we have now.

  32. 32

    Eddie E.

    And, high density is not undesirable to them, but there MUST BE reasonable transit to fully access the entire area.
    Transit first, rapacious development later.
    Otherwise, everyone is negatively impacted.

  33. 33

    Flubber

    I really like this idea.

  34. 34

    Flubber

    Whoever voted this down is clueless..

  35. 35

    Eric Robert

    To be clear I agree some of the current proposals on Dresden want too much density and don’t provide enough buffer for the abutting low density neighborhoods. But Jim makes many valid points.
    The developments on Dresden have resulted in a more vibrant area that has increased the desirability and thus values of the abutting neighborhoods. It also has been done in a way that is decently sustainable in terms of accommodating Metro Atlanta’s population growth. This type of development is far better for the environment than Sprawl. He is also absolutely correct about cut-through traffic accounting for the bulk of traffic, thus congestion does discourage more people from using the area as a cut through – its related to induced demand.

  36. 36

    Steve

    What is there and what was planned is what is wanted. (Meaning Village Place and Village Park) We already have had to learn to live with @1377 and Rosewood. That is water under the bridge and no more of that is needed.
    NO apartments on top of a restaurant. “TRUE” mixed use is all that is being asked.

  37. 37

    Eneo

    Why not push for sidewalks?

  38. 38

    Janice

    I get the impression the BPD are not concerned about speeders or red light runners on AD. They seem more interested in sitting in the car park in MC park all day. Getting really fed up with the lack of attention BPD are showing to residents concerns.

  39. 39

    Joe Palladi

    While I’m late to this discussion, many valid points have been made. Making Brookhaven more desirable hinges on doing the long term planning needed, and then timely implementation of agreed to and permitted projects is required. Operational efficiency projects may be the only ones that the majority of residents will agree to.

    First concentrating on the major corridors (P’tree, NDHR, ADR, etc.) may be costly, but would have the biggest impact to not only vehicle, but pedestrian, and bike operations and safety. Further implementing the bike/ped plan is needed. The rezoning requests will not just go away, but the defining of the proposed footprints of needed and acceptable facility improvements is needed now so “educated” and future decisions do not negate possible solutions. Traffic and mobility studies, along with determining what these acceptable solutions look like and the space they will need , are needed now for these entire corridors. Then pieces can be defined and prioritize in implementation and budgeting.

    Some changes and innovative proposals ,while they may be controversial, need to be discussed and explored. The intersection of Ellijay/Dresden/Caldwell intersection could be designed as a single intersection, or perhaps the traffic through the neighborhood could be relocated to connecting Caldwell directly to Apple Valley. This connection could be made in the “warehouse district” north of Dresden forming a more efficient “spine ” facility for vehicle, peds, and bicyclists gaining access to the MARTA station. This would replace the poorly planned intersection restrictions along Caldwell. It could hug the district and remove traffic from neighborhood streets and from the E/D/C intersection.

    Also,the proposals in the COB Marta station redevelopment should be examined, discussed, and those having merit implemented. Traffic will continue to increase. In my opinion, we also have a noon peak and a peak on Saturdays which we must acknowledge and work towards addressing.

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