Citizens want 54W traffic study

Westbound traffic on Ga. Highway 54 comes to a near screeching halt in Peachtree City Wednesday afternoon during the peak commuting hour. Photo/Ben Nelms.

The hot-button issue surrounding a potential new grocery store along Ga. Highway 54 West has been a request for a new traffic light at Line Creek Drive and its potential negative impact on the artery.

Yet there is another impact of that potential development, one that will be longer-lasting to a very small population of the city: those homeowners in Cardiff Park who will have the shopping center just beyond their backyards and thus will have to “live with” the shopping center every day.

Another impact, by extension, will affect residents in Planterra Ridge who worry they may face more cut-through traffic to and from the development. The impact even stretches further down the road, to MacDuff Parkway, where residents are reporting having difficulty turning onto Hwy. 54 because of the traffic.

For those reasons, several residents at a meeting Tuesday urged for a traffic study of the area before the city proceeds on the development, presuming that the grocery store plan comes to fruition.

The good news is that Jim Lowe of Trinity Development is confident that a host of concessions won for the neighbors would still be in play if the “green” grocery store concept comes to fruition. If it doesn’t, however, those concessions may go by the wayside as Trinity would in essence become a land broker, selling off the remaining land parcel by parcel.

Lowe said the grocery store would be a “higher-end” version of a “green” grocery store concept offered by a major grocery store retailer.

“It would not be a standard grocery store,” Lowe said.

Trinity has already sold the RaceTrac parcel right off the highway and is poised to sell the other off-highway tract to Chick-fil-A which recently had its concept plans approved by the planning commission. The question remains as to what happens on the remainder of the site.

Councilman George Dienhart, who chaired a meeting Tuesday with Councilwoman Vanessa Fleisch and concerned citizens along with Lowe, was adamant that he would not budge on allowing a traffic light at Line Creek, nor would he approve the proposed link to Planterra Way; both of which, Dienhart has said, are requirements for the grocery store.

Lowe said he has gotten a significant amount of opposition about the road link to Planterra, and he will pass that along to the grocery store company that is interested in the site.

As far as the traffic issue goes, Fleisch said she was interested in scaling back her proposed traffic study of the entire highway corridor for now in an attempt to look strictly at the impact of this proposed development.

Fleisch initially proposed having a study of the entire corridor stretching from Willowbend Road and Hwy. 54 all the way to the county line.

Planterra resident Jim Richter said he was against the city spending any money on the matter when the study should be paid for by the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Presumably, that study would look at the series of traffic signals on Hwy. 54 between Ga. Highway 74 and MacDuff Parkway. Resident Scott Hollowell noted that he lives off MacDuff and it can be “pretty tough” to turn onto Hwy. 54 from MacDuff.

Cardiff Park resident Patrick Staples asked if there was any data on how much the proposed development would add to the traffic in the corridor. The answer to that question might prove to be key to the entire scenario, yet at the same time the ultimate decision on the traffic light rests with the Georgia DOT and not the Peachtree City Council.

Cardiff Park resident Tim Lydell said he travels along Hwy. 54 West all the time during various times of day, and he insisted that he has never “sat in traffic.”

Despite that contention, there are a number of motorists who have become stuck in the westbound backlog of vehicles on Hwy. 54 that stretch all the way back to City Hall on Willowbend Road at the peak congestion times.

As for Staples and the other residents in Cardiff Park who live along the rear of the shopping center, there is the potential for increased berms and larger trees if the elevation of the shopping center isn’t as low as previously planned, Lowe said.

There is another “plan B” for the site which could be developed without the grocery store proposal, Lowe said. Fayette County Commission Chairman Steve Brown said he has seen that proposal and he thinks it would be a good fit for the city, a theory to which Dienhart agreed.

conditon55
conditon55's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/12/2010
Study This

There are now transportation dollars spent without a traffic study. Otherwise how do I know I will address the problem? What problem ? Exactly.

Transportation is big money and long lead time projects. So sure they study.

I heard that Atlanta overall population is project to double in 20-30 years.

The point of TSPLOST was to try to get ahead of the curve. But realistically, at some point it becomes impractical to so more road building to manage the growth. THink back to Fayette in 1983 til now. Now look ahead from now to 2043. Big decisions now should be to that planning horizon.

So you need a concept. Concept 3 or Concept 4 (the new concept) But adhoc leads to riverdale. And adhoc is what we see in Fayette today.

For 54 west across ghthe CSX bridge. It is wide enough to put 3 lanes on it as it stands today. They just need to trim the median. That and computerized traffic light sync. Connected wirelessly.

GA DOT has a overpass on the books for 74 && 54. I say keep 54 at current grade and make 74 a tunnel ! We will call it the Floy Farr tunnel. And county officals can call it the tunnel to nowhere ! But at that intersection pastural Fayette is a thing of the past.

americanpatriots
americanpatriots's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/05/2010
Vanessa's traffic study

The traffic study is VANESSA FLEISCH’S idea and spending money on a traffic study has to be the DUMEST IDEA she has come up with since being elected.

Councilman George Dienhart has repeatedly said he is against wasting taxpayer money on a study and he is also against another traffic light at Line Creek.

All one has to do is stand on the corner at any of the traffic lights west of the intersection of SR54/74 to MacDuff Parkway and you will see what we already know – we have a traffic problem!

Spending PTC taxpayer money for something the State will pay for is absolutely stupid!

PTC can’t do much about the problem anyway and Fleisch evidently can’t get it through her brain that SR54 is a state highway! Furthermore, there is nothing PTC can do about the large development west of our border at Fischer Crossing that will significantly increase the traffic on SR54.

According to an article in the AJC about three weeks ago, GDOT said they have no money for any project that is not currently on their project list and the list does not include anything that would help our traffic problem.

The Fayette County Board of Commissions authorized a Comprehensive Traffic Plan study that was done about three years ago. Our traffic problem has only gotten since then. Read the entire report by clicking on: http://www.fayettecountyga.gov/planning_and_zoning/Comprehensive_Transpo...

Jim Richter
PTC

Don Haddix
Don Haddix's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/17/2007
Haddix: County Study Not Done in 2010

Transportation studies are required at intervals. They are not optional. The Study was done in 2008 and 2009, not 2010. The final vote for what was in the Peachtree City Plan and overall County report was in 2010. The PTC portion vote was either late February or early March of 2010.

On March 15, 2010, Learnard wrote a letter to Jack Smith asking him to overturn the decision to remove the rail station from the PTC Transportation Plan, which is a component of the County Plan.

Of course, he could not.

We looked at the the data from the ARC, GDOT, etc. on 54/74, etc. in 2008 and 2009 for the final draft for PTC. No improvements were to be found. None of the current Councilmembers were part of that process.

So yes, it is stupid to pay for another study, including one by GDOT since it has already been done. We do pay State taxes.

For accuracy, Fleisch does support a PTC study while Dienhart and I do not. But Dienhart does support a GDOT study that is also a waste of time and money, which I do not.

Indeed, GDOT is struggling for money. So they are not going to waste their money and effort on a pointless study either.

At this time, only Dienhart and I oppose the light and connection.

As for the Adaptive Light system, that has already been shown to be ineffective for systems that are already synced, such as ours. Dienhart supports GDOT researching it while I do not since they already have data from Cobb, in example, on such an application.

americanpatriots
americanpatriots's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/05/2010
Don: Yada, yada, yada

Give it a rest already! George does not favor a study and he certainly does not favor a light, curb cut, or an access to Planterra Way.

The cliff-hanging grocery store idea is DOA and will never happen and you know it.

Don Haddix
Don Haddix's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/17/2007
Haddix: Already Said

George and I oppose the light, connection and PTC funded study. George does support a GDOT study, I don't. He said so on the Dais and on the blogs.

No way to say it more clearly and straightforward, Jim.

As for the grocery being DOA, we need one more vote against to make it so. As of now, I don't know how Fleisch and Imker will ultimate vote. Learnard will vote for it.

If you have insider info on who the 3rd vote will be, please share.

As for the PTC funded study, I do suspect that will not be approved.

americanpatriots
americanpatriots's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/05/2010
How they will vote

Put it on the agenda and call for a vote. Whoever votes for it will surely be defeated in the November election.

Don Haddix
Don Haddix's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/17/2007
Haddix: Agenda Item

As of right now there is nothing to vote on. No development proposal has even been submitted to City Hall.

To escape the vote all they have to do is motion to continue indefinitely. then they can recall it when they want.

On the flip side, I don't think the developer is going to wait until December for the election to be over. Or even November if Fleisch does not make the runoff.

There are some other combos that could happen, but I don't want to reveal what I will do in those instances.

It will be interesting, to say the least.

americanpatriots
americanpatriots's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/05/2010
Put it on the agenda

I meant put the study, not the development, on the agenda and see who votes for it.

Don Haddix
Don Haddix's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/17/2007
Ah! Gotcha!

Well, the developer already did a study. But, as with 2008, it is based on building the development and biased to the developer. You cannot do a study if you don't know the what the study is for, exactly.

The City has seen no actual plan submission yet.

Regarding a GDOT one, no point. As already discussed, the last research is only 3 years old.

I understand your point, but, yet again, it would get continued.

The issue now is a willingness to build a light for any reason. Clearly, Fleisch, Learnard and Imker are not opposed.

If any were, this would have been over last year.

Robert W. Morgan
Robert W. Morgan's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/26/2005
Haddix: Morgan. Here's something interesting

So you said that only proves that i'm insane
You may be right
I may be crazy
But it just may be a lunatic you're looking for
Turn out the light
Don't try to save me
You may be wrong for all I know
But you may be right

Billy Joel weighs in on the PTC mayoral election.

Logsdon 35%
Dienhart 31%
Fleisch 11%
All others - whatever is left

americanpatriots
americanpatriots's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/05/2010
Fayette County Comprehensive Study

Don:Here is what the website says:

Fayette County 2010
Comprehensive Transportation Plan

In 2008 the Fayette County Public Works Department began the process of preparing a new Comprehensive Transportation Plan (CTP) for the County. The 2010 Plan builds upon the findings and recommendations of the 2003 CTP but independently assesses all recommended projects and includes a stronger emphasis on the relationship between land use and transportation.

Significant components of the 2010 CTP include an inventory and assessment of transportation and land use conditions, public outreach, identification of candidate projects, evaluation and assessment (including use of the Atlanta Regional Commission's Travel Demand Model), and plan recommendations.

The 2010 Comprehensive Transportation Plan is substantially funded by the Federal Surface Transportation Program (STP). The Atlanta Regional Commission is responsible for allocating the STP funds to local governments within its region and establishing minimum criteria for the scope of work associated with CTP development. The STP funds require a minimum 20 percent local match, which is paid by Fayette County.

Who is right here, you or Fayette County? Frankly, it really doesn't matter if it was 2009 or 2010.

Don Haddix
Don Haddix's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/17/2007
Haddix: Both are Right

The work began in 2008 ending with the vote to approve in 2010. From Learnard's letter you can see it was over, for PTC, very early in the new Council in 2010.

I just didn't want people to think the review of all the materials, including the 54/74 intersection proposals, took place under Fleisch, Learnard, Imker, Sturbaum and me. It took place under Logsdon, Plunkett, Boone, Sturbaum and me, as did the formulation of the PTC Plan document.

In 2010 the one alteration we made to the proposed final draft was removing the train station from PTC. Under Logsdon, 3 said no to the removal. Under me, 3 said remove it, 1 said no and 1 did not care either way.

It is the 2010 Plan because that was when the final approval was given.

As you can see the Feds, GDOT and ARC were involved. That makes involving them, again, just 3 years later, pointless.

I said it on the Dais but Fleisch and Dienhart still wanted to push forward with their new study plans.

NUK_1
NUK_1's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/17/2007
sometimes americanpatriots is right

He's dead-on about this issue. It's not a discussion even except in Vanessa Fleish's mind. Absurd to spend a dime to study what is readily available by HAVING SOMEONE SIMPLY STAND ON THE STREET AND WATCH THE OBVIOUS.

This is no different than the utter BS about Coweta commuters clogging-up 74 to get to I-85 that Haddix spews about. Anyone that does that commute every day knows that's total crap.

No need to pay for traffic studies the STATE does when a)they will do it themselves or b) you can just go stand out there a few days and learn everything you need to know by observing the damn obvious. This is a no-brainer.

moelarrycurly
moelarrycurly's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/17/2010
George Dienhart....Traffic study

of what traffic? What portion of the road is now going to be studied? From 74 to MacDuff? 4140 feet at thirty nine grand?

What is going in there? Gas station and fast food and what else? Anything? Nothing? That land is solid granite and sits on a cliff.

How can you study traffic when you don't even know what is going to be built to attract or not attract the traffic?

Close the median and forget the freakin' light and keep the 39k that we don't have to begin with.

Don't even think of using that useless Pond & Co. that has wasted so much of our money already on the most useless traffic reports ever created by and for any city government in the history of Georgia.

Robert W. Morgan
Robert W. Morgan's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/26/2005
Agree Moe, traffic studies are for wimpy politicians

A traffic study is merely an admission that the people on city council don't know what they want and are willing to spend our money to get something to hide behind when they make an unpopular decision or face a developer lawsuit. Notable exception would be George Dienhart. You hang in there - you are 100% correct.

A vote for a traffic study should be a vote against the councilperson at reelection time. Remember that this traffic study would be spending city money to appease one developer on one parcel of land. You already accommodated him enough already. Let him spend his own money for the traffic study.

Now, if you want to do something productive - do the real time traffic analysis thing that adjusts the lights based upon the amount of traffic entering from the side streets. This is sensible and it benefits everyone - not just some psuedo-Christian developer who thinks Publix-lite is going to build a cliff-dweller store. Reminds me of that oily guy who went before Brown's council and promised a Parisian store.