Residents all along
Peachtree Road in Buckhead stopped by a Peachtree Road Task Force sponsored
public information meeting to learn more about proposals to make improvements
to the street, which could include center lanes for turning and bike lanes.
The largest number of people attending the meeting congregated around the shortest project, which centered on the road along Buckhead Village.
The Peachtree Road Task Force is a joint effort of the Buckhead CID, the City of Atlanta, the Georgia Department of Transportation, the Brookwood Alliance and the Midtown Alliance.
Planners are starting with the idea to limit north-south lanes to two in each direction. Two existing lanes would be used to create a center lane dedicated for left turns and for much narrower bike lanes north and south.
Sean Johnston of Kimley Horn expalined that his firm is advancing an initial, smaller project in the Buckhead Village area from the planning stage and into design.
"The goal is to get the project under construction in summer 2014," Johnston said. "Of course that depends on review approval by DOT and the city. And there will be other opportunites for citizen input."
The project's scope expanded to include Peachtree Road from Shadowlawn south to Sheridan at the Publix-Barnes & Noble shopping center.
"What we are doing is looking at how we can improve things operationally and from a safety standpoint, both for the vehicles and bikes," he said.
Bike lanes in both directions were considered all along Peachtree in the original concept created for the Buckhead Community Improvement District (CID). But Johnston said they know that can't be done in the short term because of issues with a parcel at the northwest corner of Peachtree and West Paces Ferry. The original median design won't be possible either. A more detailed traffic analysis will be created, adding data the company gathered about the major driveways and intersections along Peachtree.
A limited streetscape improvement is planned, but it will need to be done in the existing right of way. It's not like the project the Buckhead CID did from Maple Drive up to the malls, Johnston said. This is intended to be a faster project and it has a smaller budget. Right of way acquisition and adding easements will have to be limited. So the streetscape work will be limited.
Resident Likes Reserving Center Lane for Turns
Luke Crampton, who lives in the Sheridan Drive area, said he thinks the idea to take six existing lanes and making them into four lanes of moving traffic with the center area reserved for left turn lanes is fantastic.
"All of the left turning at the moment going north and south on Peachtree is hazardous and very dangerous," Crampton said. "So they are already effectively left turn lanes. They just are very bad and dangerous turn lanes. So why not do the sensible thing, and create that center area for sensible, safe center left turning north and south?"
Crampton thinks they still haven't expanded the scope of the project enough. He said Buckhead Village in terms of the commerical real estate ends at Felini's Pizza on Rumsen Road. He asks why should they stop the southbound improvements 200-250 yards north of Rumsen Road? "Why not logically continue it down to the end of the commercial real estate area at Felini's Pizza?"
Long-Time Resident Says Proposals Offer No Magic Solution
Nelson Brackin, an architect who has lived in Garden Hills for 28-30 years, now lives just a little bit north on Roswell. He doesn't think this plan is the answer. He said this area is the heart of Buckhead.
"I just don't feel like I'm looking at a good solution here. It's just a quick Band-Aid thing that we're going to get some paint, new pavement. Hopefully people will know how to turn the right way. But I don't see the solution. It's not the magic solution," Brackin said.
Alternatives involving land swaps just create other problems, he said.
He was interested to see each group presenting the four projects along different sections of Peachtree Road seemed to be independent of each other. He wondered if the different groups were communicating and working together.