DOT to fund ‘smarter’ signal timing on 54W

Project seen as stopgap measure until road improvements can be made

Motorists weary of battling clogged traffic on Ga. Highway 54 may get a touch of relief in early spring, thanks to efforts from the Georgia Department of Transportation.

DOT plans to install a new “intelligent” signal timing system along the corridor to maximize efficiency and, hopefully, improve traffic until a longer-term solution can be devised and implemented.

The smarts of the system come in the ability for the computer to analyze live traffic data, and change the timing of the lights as conditions warrant, DOT officials said. It’s possible the system could be fully up and running by March, giving engineers time to tweak the various light timing scenarios, according to DOT State Signal Engineer Alan Davis.

The plan, unveiled Thursday, would stretch along the highway from Willowbend Road all the way to the county line along Ga. Highway 54, and perhaps a short distance up and down Ga. Highway 74 as well.

The project won’t cost the city a dime, as the estimated $30,000 to $50,000 will come from funds managed by the Atlanta Regional Commission. Those funds are set aside to improve signal timing to mitigate traffic congestion and help improve air quality, Davis said.

The project involves installing more sensors in the road, but the good news is that the existing traffic lights are already able to communicate with each other on a network, officials said.

More sensors will mean more data, and with the new system the data can be monitored remotely, which will also provide better information on future traffic studies, Davis said.

As for the signal timing, DOT District Traffic Engineer Michael Presley said while more prioritization could be given to traffic on the highway, that would extend the wait times for traffic on side streets waiting to get onto Hwy. 54. The DOT will work with the city to make sure the city’s needs are met with the various timing schemes.

One of the problems with the side streets, Presley added, is at the popular The Avenue shopping center, because it doesn’t have much room to stack vehicles waiting to get onto the highway before the cars block in other parked vehicles.

Pogo
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Intelligent Signals

I hope that DOT doesn't appoint the same "signal engineer" to this project as the one who programmed the light at 54W and Sumner Rd. The traffic control at this intersection was great before they installed the new signals.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Added Info

Tweaks, upgrades, etc have been ongoing discussions between the City and GDOT since the sync system was installed in 2009. This is part of ongoing efforts.

This is also part of a region wide effort. These upgrades have already been done in various locations throughout the ARC. It is neither special or unique for PTC.

As GDOT also reported, during heavier traffic nothing will change. The timing on 54 has already been optimized. To reduce time on 54 still means longer waits on the side streets. Better time on side streets still means longer on 54. In the past I had cited Cobb, etc findings that stated this fact for already existing synced systems.

As for the long term solution, GDOT has gone back to citing the split grade on 74/54 from the 2008 and 2009 engineering studies that resulted in the 2010 Transportation Plan. It is available on the County website.

The other long term solution proposed was by Councilwoman Kim Learnard. You can learn more about that proposal HERE (not my website).

GDOT is not doing the 54 Corridor Study, as I said they would not.

Also as stated, a study only could not but funded by the SPLOST, thus the $500K passed by the majority.

Nor, as Councilman Imker tried to claim, we cannot just spend about 5 or 10% for the Study. By law it is the whole project on none of it.

Councilwoman Learnard citing the traffic calming at Loring Lane and Peachtree Parkway was already discussed and rejected as being more problematic than the current situation.

And finally, as I said and GDOT confirmed, in another 4 to 5 years the regular 10 year Transportation Plan studues will occur. The Federal Government will fund about 80% of the study cost, so why are they so anxious to spend 100% of local tax money now? Election year!!

Bottom line, nothing has changed. This all came up on the Dais this year for the first, growing out of a want to justify a light on 54 at Line Creek. Election year politics that have wasted a lot of time and energy.

My opposition to a light at 54 and the SPLOST remains firm.

Peachtree City Mayor
donhaddix.com
The Comprehensive Strategic Plan Proposal
Is in the Updates Forum

Bostonian212
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DOT “intelligent”…..

Oxymoron..

moelarrycurly
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Then what would become

of the 500K if some not used for the study? Can it be put back into roads and paths?

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Yes

It would be used for streets and paths.

moelarrycurly
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So if these funds lists

are interchangeable, what is the purpose of the lists?

Don Haddix
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Haddix: How it Works

If the SPLOST passed, as the funds come in, they go to the General SPLOST Fund account in the Budget. They are not automatically divided among projects.

Keep in mind there are hundreds of projects on the list. Street, paths and tunnels are general areas with a not to exceed total assigned to each area. Some projects could remain unfunded or even cancelled, not affecting the others.

When the funds reach a level to start funding projects, Council authorizes money to be spent. It could be any number of projects in any combination from the totality of all projects listed. That amount is moved from the General SPLOST Fund to specific projects.

What cannot happen is adding more projects than those approved by the voters. You also cannot change a project from what was approved to something else.

Once all the projects are completed, minus those cancelled, if any money is left, there are certain General Fund spending areas the excess can be transferred to for use.

So, as with the $500K, if all the other projects are completed and the $500K is cancelled, it can go to the General Fund. From there, as a General Fund expenditure, it could be spent on additional street or path projects, in example.

Yes, there is room for abuse and non-approved by voter uses of the funds by a future Council, before you ask. And yes, it has happened other places in Georgia that resulted in legal actions.

Peachtree City Mayor
donhaddix.com
The Comprehensive Strategic Plan Proposal
Is in the Updates Forum

moelarrycurly
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Even with approval

of this SPLOST, the money collected for PTC roads/paths will be a fraction of what is needed right now. Not to mention what any additional needs will be in 2-10 years as the time frame this SPLOST money would be collected and used.

Subdivision streets have been allowed to deteriorate so much in the last 10 years, most now on the list need full depth reclamation, instead of a new overlay onto an already substandard base that is left there now.

Where has that been factored in to the cost of roads? I'd like to see which streets on the list are scheduled for a new overlay on the existing surface and which are scheduled for a full depth reclamation. The cost difference for each will greatly affect how many roads and paths will actually get done with this or any money collected.

The flooding rains we had early this summer I feel dictate a redo of the roads and paths list from 2012. The deterioration of what we have has been accelerated substantially by that historic rain.

If anyone thinks this SPLOST will address what the current paving needs are in PTC, they are wrong. It will take much more than this SPLOST. By the time the money is collected and then available to staff or contractors to actually do the projects, the needs will have increased even more over this current list.

I can see most of the roads needing full depth reclamation right now, due to the neglect from the past. Then, get these new roads on a preventative maintenance program to address the small cracks, defects that develop over time (when has that been done int he last 5-10 years?) to extend the life of the road till a new asphalt overlay can be put down on a regularly scheduled basis at a much lower cost and more frequently than the full depth reclamations that have had to be used recently on Peachtree Pkwy and Dividend.

I stated earlier that I am against this SPLOST. I still need more information from staff on the details of the spending needs.

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