Council halts 54W light request

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DOT wants time to install new signal management system

A proposal to add a new traffic light on Ga. Highway 54 West for a new shopping center ran into a logjam of its own Thursday night, as the Peachtree City Council voted unanimously to table the request indefinitely.

The Georgia Department of Transportation asked for the delay so it would have time to install a new traffic signal management system on the highway, according to City Manager Jim Pennington.

The new system will use information from highway sensors to gauge when traffic is really congested, triggering an automatic switchover to one of several customized signal timing patterns to improve traffic flow. It is expected to take about three months to complete, though work is already underway. The $133,000 project is being funded by a grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission.

“Their concern is making sure traffic improves at a better rate or at least keeps from going down to bad,” Pennington said.

The delay will also allow for completion of a corridor study requested by council that is expected to offer potential solutions for the recurring traffic problems on Hwy. 54 West.

Trinity Development asked the city to approve a permit request for the new light at Line Creek Drive where Trinity wants to build a 81,000 sq. ft. shopping center with a grocery store and other national retailers. Though council could approve or reject the request, the final say rests with the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Council also tabled indefinitely a second request from Trinity: to allow a road connection from the shopping center to Planterra Way. Residents of the Planterra Ridge and Cardiff Park subdivisions have opposed this link, arguing that it would make traffic worse on Planterra Way.

In the afternoon drive time, cars back up in the left hand turn lane approaching the highway, going as far back as the entrance to the city’s tennis center, and council has seen the proof in photos submitted by a Planterra resident two weeks ago. Navigating that mess takes about 10 minutes or more to get through, residents have said.

Several city council members have said they will work on fixing the issue with cut-through traffic.

Residents have also decried how a road link to the Shoppes at MacDuff shopping center further west was removed from the site plan, since it would allow vehicles at Trinity’s proposed shopping center to reach the existing traffic light on MacDuff Parkway.

Pennington told council that all of those traffic issues would be examined in the city’s traffic study, which was approved by council Jan. 16 at a cost of $70,000.

“The Planterra connection, the MacDuff connection and the traffic light, all those things have to be included,” Pennington said, adding that the study will also look at the entire area. “... That is already in the works.”

Traffic on Hwy. 54 West during afternoon drive times can get so congested that it often backs up beyond the traffic light on Willowbend Road at City Hall.

Though the new traffic signal management system is expected to improve traffic on Hwy. 54 West somewhat, it will not add more capacity to deal with the growing amount of vehicles on the highway. Some Wilksmoor Village residents have said that traffic will turn sour on the artery at other times of day instead of just during the afternoon commute.

“The last three or four years we try to avoid that intersection like the plague between 4 and 6 and even during the weekends,” Planterra resident Stephen Gleason told council Thursday night. “We’ll drive all the way back to Kelly Drive sometimes to get out or come home.”

fayette77
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Sunday afternoon drive

Just sat at the 54/74 light for 7 cycles and the light at Market Place Blvd and 54W for 3 cycles. On Sunday afternoon! No more approval for construction or lights in that area until they fix the existing problems. That stretch of road is awful. Congrats on postponing a decision indefinitely.

Spyglass
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Golf carts were moving fine

I was out too, noticed the traffic as we went from Spyglass Sub to The Avenue, then on to Home Depot and Pikes...good times...ZERO red light cycles. :)

Robert W. Morgan
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How did you get to Home Depot from The Avenue

on a golf cart? I've used the tunnel and Clover Reach to get to Starbucks, but couldn't cross 54 to go north.

If that's workable, I will be taking one car off the road on Saturday and just use my golf cart all day. Home Depot and haircut is the only reason I have to go over there.

Spyglass
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Home Depot does haircuts too?

I go to the Peachtree City Barber Shop underneath Big Daddy's.

Just as mentioned below, two tunnels in that area, on each side of the RR TRACKS. One from Avenue to Ethan Allen, the other from the mulch guys across from Golf Rider to Best Buy, Home Depot etc...the cart bridge north of 54 connects it all together.

moelarrycurly
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Cart from the side parking lot

at Books A Million over to the path off that side parking lot, go thru the tunnel under 54 and hang an immediate right as you come out of the tunnel, staying on the path on the north side of 54 (at Ethan Allen) and go over the path bridge to Best Buy, Petsmart, Home Depot, WalMart, etc. Another wondrous journey ala PTC.

If you really want to avoid Avenue car traffic, cart in the service alley behind the shopping center and you will come out behind Books A Million and the path and tunnel are straight ahead across their side parking lot.

Spyglass
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Ed Zachery

Easy as pie....

moelarrycurly
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Some days

I wave to the traffic on the bridge as I zoom by them at 10 mph.:)

firekmm
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West HWY 54

Wasn't this section of highway 54 designed for a third lane in each direction when it was built? Just asking..

firekmm
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West HWY 54

Wasn't this section of highway 54 designed for a third lane in each direction when it was built? Just asking..

moelarrycurly
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Hwy 54 Traffic Response System

Here's our GDOT cash working hard. Just got home from the logjam on Hwy 54.

Traffic backed up, westbound, from past Flat Creek/Willowbend as far as I could see, which included 54/74.

Here we are, Saturday afternoon, PAY DAY for the masses who collect SS and a twice a month paycheck. And any other government allotment you can get your hands on.

So, of course, I turned off onto the 2nd Willowbend left turn, just following the Coweta plates in front on me who were trying to go south on 74 but just couldn't wait to get up to 54/74 to make that left turn, either.

I will be submitting my invoice to GDOT for reimbursement, and to city council for reimbursement, for the 130K and 70K waste of money that is doing NOTHING to alleviate the traffic there. Stick a GDOT GPS on my vehicle, have some $10. per hour state worker (sorry attempt at humor, more like $10. per minute) follow me on a computer screen and I will only charge about a grand per trip. There, that's my traffic response system.

Mike Mahoney
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Hallelujah

Almost don't want to jump too high or yell too loudly because this almost sounds like common sense here ...especially coming from a government entity.

Maybe not the "end all" solution to a very self-induced (at the hand of PTC) situation but certainly a step in the right direction.