Fleisch ‘wait and see’ on new 54W traffic light

Dienhart contends 6th light in the tiny stretch of highway will make traffic worse

With the development of a RaceTrac gas station underway on Ga. Highway 54 West, and a Chick-fil-A under consideration immediately next door, Councilman George Dienhart has proposed closure of the median cut at that intersection to prevent a sixth traffic light on the highway at Line Creek Drive.

Council deadlocked 2-2 on the concept at its April 18, positioning Councilwoman Vanessa Fleisch as the tie-breaking vote on the proposal; she was absent from the meeting due to a death in the family.

Westbound traffic on Hwy. 54 is usually so bad that it backs up as far as City Hall during weekday afternoon commute times, and also at other times on the weekends.

Mayor Don Haddix supported Dienhart’s proposal, but council members Kim Learnard and Eric Imker were against it. Learnard said she wanted to work with the developer to see if the plan can be approved. Imker said he feared the city would be sued over the matter, since the city attorney saying the city wouldn’t be liable because the final decision rests with the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Fleisch told The Citizen Monday that she will reserve her decision on the matter after a new traffic study of the area is completed. A traffic study conducted five years ago on behalf of the developer showed that “closing the median would actually make the situation worse, as vehicles would make U-turns at Planterra Way which would increase delays,” Fleisch said.

“Now that we have two out-parcels that are being developed, I think the bigger question should be what will make the development itself better,” Fleisch said. “Should it be developed with ‘B-class’ retailers with more out-parcels like Lexington Circle and south 74’s development with Autozone, or should we try to get an ‘A-class’ retail establishment for that area.”

Dienhart, in his presentation to council several weeks ago, said the stretch of five traffic lights already along Hwy. 54 West “create a choke point going through the city.”

Dienhart said its time for the city to embrace the concept of “do no harm” by making every effort to prevent the sixth traffic light.

“I think we need to be true to our word as government and honest with the citizens about what we are going to do,” Dienhart said. “... It’s up to us, not up to the developers.”

As any westbound commuter can attest, once the final traffic light is passed at Hwy. 54 and MacDuff Parkway and drivers cross into Coweta County, traffic suddenly seems to improve again, unrestricted by the conglomeration of lights they just passed in Peachtree City.

Dienhart also wants council to oppose allowing the shopping center developer to link an access road to Planterra Way. A handful of residents have told council they don’t want that access road for fear of increasing traffic cutting through the subdivision.

Should DOT allow for the median to be closed, some work would be necessary to modify the intersection because it currently has two fairly lengthy turn lanes in each direction.
At the May 18 council meeting, Haddix agreed with Dienhart that “the traffic light is a disaster.”

Haddix noted that while the DOT initially granted a traffic light permit for the intersection back when the development was proposed as the “Line Creek Shopping Center,” DOT later withdrew the permit when the development never came to fruition.

Haddix said he preferred working with DOT to create a way for Fischer Road in Coweta County to access the interstate, which he thinks would eliminate much of the traffic along Hwy. 54 West.

Note: story corrected to reflect Fleisch's position that eliminating the median cut would increase delays due to vehicles U-turning on Planterra Way.

ptc_mom_101
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no more

I personally think there is too much business up that way. Time to move it elsewhere. As a resident I get sick and tired of being stuck in traffic in that area and having no where to go for up to 20 minutes.

borntorun
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TDK Connector

I'm not saying it would be the cure-all but have to wonder how much less congestion at 54/74 we would have now if the TDK Connector proposal had not been hijacked by the Brown Clown with his "end of the world" prophecy if built.

Robert W. Morgan
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TDK math

Pretty simple really. Just count up all the cars with Coweta plates and other counties near there that are heading east into the industrial park in the AM and west in the PM and subtract them from the total and there you have it.

What do you mean "end of the world"? I thought Brown and his dream team council voted for the TDK extension at first. Is my memory failing me?

borntorun
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Brown Clown/TDK

Unless my memory is failing me, the Brown Clown was for it before he was against it. Hard to keep up with his positions at times though. More flipping and flopping than a fish in a boat.

Robert W. Morgan
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For it before he was against it - yes, that's my recall as well

but memory is fuzzy. We need to hear from John D. or Dan T. or one of the real oldtimers who can remember the facts. Not sure why Brown flipped unless he suddenly discovered a developer hiding in the weeds in Coweta County on the other side of the TDK extension.

NUK_1
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Brown-TDK

Totally against as a candidate for Mayor, then became a proponent for it once elected and stated "no Council had done as much to make it happen" as "his," then totally against it again.

Considering his massive flip-flops on Westside Annexation and district voting, I don't know where TDK ranks. Probably below district voting, though.
As soon as he saw that he'd never win an election in FC for anything, he suddenly abandoned all of his alleged principles and spew about district voting and the people who oppose it in order to get elected again instead of blown off the map by people like Logsdon and Ramsey.

borntorun
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Good Guess RWM

Brown Clown claimed there was talk of some kind of residential development over the Coweta County line. Put the fear of God in people with talk about thousands and thousands of Coweta County folk pouring into PTC clogging up our roads. Well, the development never took place and we are stuck with our daily traffic snarl at 54/74. Oh...by the way, Donnie Darko was also against it. Not sure where he stands on the proposal today but it really doesn't matter. No not due to the fact that the road will never be built. But that Donnie's term is about up and no one cares what he thinks anymore. Well...except for Pumpkin.

R. Butler
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More than just talk...

Back in 2007, the Coweta County Commission had a plan in place to allow for the construction of over 3000 residential units and a rather large retail shopping complex opposite Falcon field--contingent on Fayette County building the TDK extension. The impact of the development was deemed serious enough that the Atlanta Regional Commission directed Fayette to double to size (and corresponding cost to county taxpayers) of the TDK extension from two to four lanes in order to accomidate the anticipated increase in traffic.

As envisioned by the Coweta Commission, the TDK extension was to be the primary means of access for residents of these new developments. So they made no corresponding plans to upgrade their existing road network in that area of the county.

So instead of taking traffic pressure off of 54 West, TDK was projected to increase vehicle traffic (both local and commuter) into Peachtree City by upwards of 10 K daily.

Understanding the context helps explain why almost everyone changed their minds on the TDK extension project.

http://archive.thecitizen.com/node/15179

Husband and Fat...
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I'm not sure what the answer

I'm not sure what the answer is regarding the congestion at 54/74. I don't travel that corridor very often, but I did Fri evening when I left the BSC to head Five Guys to pick up some dinner. It took me 3 light changes to make a left at the intersection and then stopped at 2 more lights. Just glad I don't live in Planterra or Centennial or own a business along this corridor.

What I do see is a lot of posturing from city council. Here's my advise. Instead of bickering and using this as a campaign tool, council needs to move quickly to resolve this utilizing forward thinking as we can expect more development in the next few years as the economy improves and more people travel this corridor.

Spyglass
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Planterra has it made compared to Centennial

No excuse for not finishing Macduff to Hwy 74.

I take a golf cart ti that area, much easier. :)

Although compared to areas on the Northside of ATL, we have it made traffic wise.

Husband and Fat...
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Spy - Your right

We do not have the population and traffic like the northside of Atl. But that's a good thing and one of the reasons we like it here.

Centennial has some really nice homes. I thought the lots were too small for my taste. While having one way in and one way out provides a measure of safety in terms of crime, it also posses a problem for emergency vehicles if the road is ever shut down and also ends up with traffic problems entering the main roads.

I am unfamiliar with the history of Centennial and the access to 74 (McDuff). Hindsight is 20/20 but it should have been made a part of the development agreement and access provided before any homes were occupied.
Heaven forbid there is an accident along that road that hinders emergency responders from gaining access.

dkinser
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MacDuff Parkway

Why not have a government body step up to the plate, since they typically are the ones that should be building roads and bridges; and finish the bridge across the railroad tracks at the north end of MacDuff Parkway. This would help alleviate some of the buildup at Hwy 74 / Hwy 54. And as stated, once traffic passes MacDuff Parkway / Hwy 54, it tends to thin out. Closing curb cuts is going to cause more U-Turns and further delays in my opinion.

NeilSullivan
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Mac Duff - No Thanks

DKinser:

When the annexation was sold, we were told that the Big Box Bypass aka the Mac Duff extension would not be needed thanks to the widing of 54 so when they did do it there would not be many cars actually on Mac Duff besides residents. The volume is as bad if not worse. No thanks, The Mac Duff neighborhoods will have a worse time getting out and the only ones benefiting will be Coweta cars.

Weiland promised to build that bridge and extension as a condition of annexation. No public money. You and I were both there. Maybe one day but not now.

We need a regional solution to help our Coweta neighbors to get to their homes quicker from the interstate not screw the west village traffic up more.

Hope you are well

Neil

Don Haddix
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Haddix: dkinser

Scarborough and Wieland agreed to pay for the bridge and extension to justify the annexation and zoning. In today's money that is about $8 million.

On new developments, PTC does not pay for the roads, paths, sewer, water, etc. That is part of the development at developer expense.

I see no reason to transfer such costs from developers to taxpayers.

I do remember residents along MacDuff wanting stop signs at every intersection, speed bumps, etc. That will not happen per GDOT.

dkinser
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Haddix

Your thinking then is "because we haven't done this in the past, we can't do it in the future". Sort of like your specific budget cuts, you've not presented any in the past, so we shouldn't expect any from you in the future?

You sit there idly by and watch the traffic clog the arteries of this city, yet you do little to nothing to improve it. You point the finger of blame in all directions, blaming members of council, the county commission, GDOT, probably even the dog next door; yet as the "leader" of this community you repeatedly fail to lead. Instead all I see are your road blocks, your blunders, and a total lack of leadership. Do us all a favor and remove yourself from the next election.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Kinser

Obviously you have not paid attention in the past. I was the one who pushed changes at the Fred, Tennis Center, Kedron Center, etc that cut spending over a million every year and improved service levels. I don't believe in band aid budgeting.

Plus I have ad a proposal on the table for years now.

It is even more evident you have not paid attention since I am working with GDOT to reduce traffic with an actual plan that remove traffic from PTC. They like the plan.

You are right, I do not support your tax and spend thinking. PTC cannot afford it.

dkinser
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Haddix

Nor can we afford your $10,000.00 slip of the lip. I have paid attention, and I see more failings on your part than success, thus I'll be supporting a change for a new Mayor.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Cheap Shots Now?

I suggest you go back and read the minutes, newspaper articles, etc. up to and including my statement on the Dais. The Councilmembers had to retract their accusations in the Settlement and restore my pay.

The City Attorney, other lawyers and even a couple of judges I know said I never violated any law. There is even case law supporting me.

Councilmembers Dienhart and Fleisch said it was not about what was legal. Fact is it is always about what is legal.

This is nothing more than a cheap shot opportunity to attack me. The real question is whether the initial lawsuit against me should have ever been brought or not.

You can try to dodge it all you want, but none of the other candidates have accomplished more than I have for PTC. That is a matter of record. Go read on donhaddix.com.
There are traffic issues in PTC, but not just in Wilksmoor, due to the traffic lights, Coweta, etc. We do not agree on how to resolve them.

I felt you had to be responded to. But, with that said, enough is enough.

Spyglass
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So you didn't cost our City money?

Wow...

Robert W. Morgan
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Let's save Mike King's life - vote for anyone but Haddix

Geez Mike, take it down a notch before the aneurism. It is for your own good. We don't want you dead.

The garden troll is not worth it. Stay alive and run for office. Believe me - if you win any seat on council, Stumpy won't be there in January.

Open seat when Dienhart qualifies to run for mayor. Think about it.

Then fast forward to January 2014 --- Mayor Dienhart on lead guitar, Mike King on bass, Erica has to be on the drums (where they put the slow ones), Josh Bloom fits in somewhere (he's probably a tenor) and Kimmy gets going on the go-go stand.

I'm thinking Jefferson Airplane singing "This City was built on Rock and Roll". Am I crazy or what? If somebody can post a YouTube link to that, it would be great.

My city, my fantasy. What can go wrong?

Larry.Sussberg
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.

.

Mike King
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Mayor Haddix

Some six years ago as an aspiring Councilman you stood against the development of this same property as your campaign theme of anti-development. Now that you realize that you have had to settle for much less than desired for the residents of Peachtree City, you still have no clue as how to fix the problem. Your actions have made this entire issue much worse than it has needed to be.
If you place yet another light you delay the through time for those commuting both east and west compounding the existing congestion. Not to mention the fact that you will have alienated the residents living off Planterra Way. I wonder if the residents of Centennial will appreciate the new light enough to insure your reelection which we all know is your main concern.
Regarding the lawsuit, just admit that your e-mail to Joey Grisham was not only stupid, but indicative of a hormonally charged adolescent attempting to make themselves look good.
Accomplishments? Censure, Tossed off the ARC, Walking off the dais when you didn't get your way, and yes $12K of taxpayer money to reimburse you for something that could have ended with a public apology for an action you know was wrong..

Robert W. Morgan
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Let's just wait another year on that idea, dkinser

Because in 1 year we can celebrate the 20th anniversary of that very fine idea. Yes, Bob Lenox was Mayor, Jim Williams did all the heavy lifting and the development company was still paying for almost everything. Lot's of changes in 20 years and I don't think we are getting any closer to that bridge and roadway.

We may have to go back to a surface crossing of the railroad. Hey, maybe we can use some of the TSPLOST money for that - oh yea, that didn't pass. Or maybe we can vote ourselves a special new tax for that - let's see $8,000,000 for the bridge and road divided by 10,000 households in PTC, sure that's fine with me.

Maybe Coweta County will help. Maybe make it a toll road?

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Surface Crossing

That is not going to happen per CSX.

Nor would MacDuff even have been on the List if I had not been able to persuade Todd Long that plus 4 other projects qualified.

So, MacDuff was on due to my pushing, but it was not fully funded as a Regional project. Our roundtable reps were only willing to do partial funding. We got a whole 2 and a partial projects after having zero. We ended up with PTC getting back $1 for every $5 sent in.

All the rest went to Fayetteville related projects.

Larry.Sussberg
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West 54 Traffic

Isn't the problem on 54 due to commuter traffic passing through Fayette?
If that's the case, the solution is more than curb cuts and traffic lights.
Lots of opinions but how about an engineering study to look at the total problem with a long term solution!

We have politicians trying to score brownie points for the upcoming election instead of calling for a comprehensive review by professionals.

The residents behind the development don't want a service road, no one in town really wants the traffic light and eventually those living off McDuff will resist a detour on to 74 too.

I think some want the traffic light to allow the developer to put in a few more stores including a new gourmet foods store owned by Publix. Having a Fresh Market type store might benefit all the neighborhoods there.

Just possibly, if some one other than our politicians laid out a multi year plan with a range of projects that solves the problem, citizens would listen. This problem will not go away with or without a light and maybe there is a larger solution everyone can live with. Instead our political muckrakers are sending letters to Planterra residents scaring them about service roads and other politicos are babbling about the traffic light and other opinionated fixes without professional advisors.

What a mess...the traffic and our absurd politicians. Not sure what's worse!

NeilSullivan
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54 Traffic

Mr. Mayor

Thank you for your input. Can you please also consider closing preferrably all three of the cuts on the right side of 54 between Walmart and Mac Duff(Hacienda, Chevron, and Tires Plus). Two have no run off lane and cars actually stop on 54 to make the right into Chevron/ Line Creek/ Enterprise. In my opinion, this gums up traffic worse than the cut on the other side. People can use the access road from Walmart or Mac Duff.

Also, you are right about the afternoon traffic flow. Mc Duff can take a long time to get out onto 54. Synchronizing the lights may make it worse.

Take Care,

Neil

GeorgeDienhart
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Curb cuts

My initial proposal (which has kicked off this current conversation) asks that we work with GDOT to close the curb cut at Line Creek. Other locations in the area have been mentioned and will be evaluated.

GeorgeDienhart
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Duplicate

No Text

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Consideration

Closing those curb cuts would require some research and might not be feasible if part of the development agreement and Platt.

The current proposals need to resolved first.

houston2882
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Light

Add light. Time all 6lights to turn green together. Hold green for 5 mins. This during peak traffic time. 4 - 6 pm .

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Syncing the Light

Already done on the whole corridor, not just in Wilksmoor, and it creates a nightmare for the side streets with delays. In example Flat Creek jumped to 4 minutes and you still cannot get onto 54 during Rush Hour. As well MacDuff area residents have said they often experience up to 20 minute delays getting on.

Also look at the backups caused on 74.

This will add delays as even admitted to in the old 2008 study with the lights synced.

This is about far more than just the area of the current five traffic lights. Just on 54 alone it reaches from Wyndham to MacDuff.

Mike Mahoney
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Synchronize the lights ...

This is the only recourse that makes any sense both economically and from an efficient traffic handling point.

Having every traffic light in the highway 74/54 to county line corridor operate independently single-handedly ensures this portion of Hwy 54 will continue to be a grid lock and only get worse ...complete with an increasing accident count. The ability of this portion of roadway to handle large amounts of traffic efficiently ...which it surely can ...is being hamstrung by all the independent traffic lights; what a shame.

The way it stands now, after the expenditure of millions on the the roadway and bridge improvements, PTC is hamstringing this section of highway to the tune it is no better ...and probably worse ...than it was prior to all the improvements.

Synchronizing the traffic lights makes the best sense in this case. Will some people have to wait a little longer to have their "turn" ...sure. But then that's the price of development. Major cities deal with the same situation all the time and synchronization is what works. If PTC and the state bring in a bona fide traffic engineering firm instead of using "local talent" ...I cannot believe the traffic lights could not be synchronized to efficiently handle rush hour flows in the morning and evening.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Already Done

Syncing was done and has been being tweaked since 2009.

That is what the intersection cameras are all about.

Davids mom
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Light!!!

You must have taught Traffic Control 101 -and which no one in Georgia pays any attention

Robert W. Morgan
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What's wrong with this quote from Ms. Fleisch?

"“closing the median would actually make the situation worse, as vehicles would make U-turns at Planterra Way which would decrease delays,” Fleisch said.

Decreasing delays makes the situation worse? Well no, that's what you want is to decrease or have fewer delays. Besides, people making u-turns would only be able to do it when they have a green light or arrow plus their cars would stack in a left turn lane and neither would delay thru traffic. And closing the median means no dangerous left hand turns across traffic can be attempted. Why people still try that is beyond belief. Turning right and then making a u-turn is almost always quicker and it is certainly safer.

Maybe the guy presenting the traffic study can explain all this to our esteemed leaders on council.

John Munford
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Morgan: The error was mine

The story has been corrected. Ms. Fleisch actually said it would "increase" delays. My apologies.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: U-Turns

First of all, the developer has already done a new study dated January 2013, of which Councilwoman Fleisch is fully aware.

It has always been my contention the City should hire who does the study at developer expense, but Council majorities have rejected that idea. In fact, the Councilwoman quoted the developer study in arguing for the The Gates annexation and rezoning.

But now she wants to pay $13K for a City initiated study on top of the developer's. Why?

In 2008 the developer and who did the study for him did argue the U-turns would occur, be dangerous and cause more delays. She is arguing from the old developer report.

I also argued for closing the median in 2008. The same argument the Councilwoman is making was made by the 3 majority supporting the light back then.

Fact is no U-Turns would be needed at all without a traffic light or connection to Planterra Way. There would be the right in/right out plus a connection to shops at MacDuff, thus the MacDuff traffic light.

This can be built without the light or connection at all.

We do not need yet another study to know there will be increased delays along the whole 54 corridor, Wyndham to MacDuff. Or that the situations with the side streets getting onto 54 will get worse.

moelarrycurly
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So what did the developer paid for

study say about a light there? Let me take a wild guess, just a wild one, that it said a light is needed.

johenry
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They just keep doing it to us!!!

The poor ignorant people who support making our lives miserable with another traffic signal will feel the wrath of the voters in November.

johenry
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They just keep doing it to us!!!

The poor ignorant people who support making our lives miserable with another traffic signal will feel the wrath of the voters in November.

Mike King
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Traffic Light

Surely, everyone on Council realizes that this additional light will delay thru traffic making a bad situation worse.
Perhaps if someone proposes naming the intersection Fleisch Crossing, would this make any difference? I'm certain the residents of Planterra Ridge and Cardiff Park would have no problem naming the intersection after their favorite Council Member especially since she has announced her mayoral candidacy.

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