A largely sidewalk-free stretch of Sandy Springs Circle will get a multi-use trail, and two of its travel lanes will be converted to on-street parking, in a major redesign slated for early 2017.

An illustration of the proposed Sandy Springs Circle design presented at the March 9 open house. (Photo John Ruch)
An illustration of the proposed Sandy Springs Circle design presented at the March 9 open house. (Photo John Ruch)

The $7 million project targets the third-of-a-mile section of Sandy Springs Circle between Hammond Drive and Mount Vernon Highway. While the work is still a year away, the city held an open house to review the designs on March 9 at the Sandy Springs United Methodist Church Activities Center.

More than 50 residents attended in the open house’s first hour, expressing general approval of sidewalks, but concerns on whether it would worsen traffic. City consultants and officials said it won’t and that a traffic study has been done.

The more pedestrian-friendly design is part of the city’s 2012 City Center Master Plan proposal for the street, which runs past Heritage Sandy Springs’ historic site and two shopping centers. The plan calls for roomy walkways separated from street traffic by wide strips of grass. The west side of the street would get a 12-foot-wide multi-use path in addition to a 6-foot-wide pedestrian-only sidewalk. The east side would get a 10-foot-wide sidewalk, reduced to 8 feet along Heritage Green Park to reduce right-of-way impact. Both sides of the street would get new trees, though some likely will be removed for the project as well.

Currently two lanes in each direction, the street would be converted to one lane each way. About 75 on-street parking spaces would be added on both sides of the street, largely as a traffic-calming measure, and partial medians with left-turn lanes would be installed. The actual pavement’s current width of 48 feet would remain the same.

A cross-section illustration of the proposed Sandy Springs Circle design. (Photo John Ruch)
A cross-section illustration of the proposed Sandy Springs Circle design. (Photo John Ruch)

The plans lack a mid-block pedestrian crossing, as one open house attendee noted. Andrew Thompson, the city’s capital programs manager, said such a crossing is not allowed under federal design rules. But the design includes some brick-paved bulb-outs to shorten the crossing for pedestrians who cross anyway, he said.

The multi-use trail wouldn’t connect to much except regular sidewalks, but is part of a trail master plan being built out over time. “The hope is, [in the] long view, we’re going to build a multi-use path network,” said Thompson. “We’re trying to piece together as much as we can.”

A similar trail may be part of a planned reconstruction of the Mount Vernon/Sandy Springs Circle intersection, a separate project that may happen sooner, city officials said. That project is part of the City Springs redevelopment underway and will include reducing the grade of the Sandy Springs Circle hill, which currently blocks views of oncoming traffic.

The Sandy Springs Circle streetscape project would require retaining walls in some areas. The work would involve lane closures, but not a total street closure, city officials said. The city still needs to acquire right of way on an estimated 11 parcels.

Sandy Springs Circle as it today, looking south near the Hilderbrand Drive intersection. Most of the street lacks sidewalks. (Photo John Ruch)
Sandy Springs Circle today, looking south near the Hilderbrand Drive intersection. Most of the street lacks sidewalks. (Photo John Ruch)

A city consultant is accepting public comments on the Sandy Springs Circle proposal through Fri., March 18 at bschwartz@mbakerintl.com or via postal mail at Michael Baker International, c/o Beth Ann Schwartz, Project CC-10, 420 Technology Parkway, Suite 150, Norcross, GA 30092.

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John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.

3 replies on “Multi-use trail, on-street parking planned for Sandy Springs Circle”

  1. You can’t help but notice that the city is stepping up and addressing concerns of residents raised by so many to address cut through commuter traffic. Unfortunately they are restricting and slowing traffic, not in our neighborhoods, but in their neighborhood because City planners are taking care of Sandy Springs most important constituents – themselves.

    Of course they are restricting traffic on Sandy Springs Circle, a significant commuter route. The city has been buying up land on Hammond in order to complete Eva’s dream of a 4 lane from Perimeter,a whole lot of torn down houses between Roswell and Johnson Ferry and historic Sandy Springs neighborhoods bulldozed and replaced by much higher density projects. And if the City is going to flow all those Cobb County commuters through Sandy Springs, commuters are naturally going to turn down Sandy Springs Circle off Hammond and onto Johnson Ferry to get back to Cobb County. By constricting traffic flow on Sandy Springs Circle will encourage traffic to go elsewhere or rather to continue on Hammond and then Mount Vernon to Heards Ferry, Riverside and River Valley in order to get home. This is definitely a we win – you lose situation for affected homeowners. Someone always loses when add lanes or encourage additional traffic through residential neighborhoods and the City is simply getting ahead of that curve to be sure only home owners are impacted and not their precious City Center. City Center continues to be the monster that might eventually destroy the city. We incorporated to improve our quality of life in Sandy Springs, not to build a a bigger and bigger monument to big govenment.

  2. 1. next time include a map so we can know where this is
    2. the photo of the architect’s plan should be oriented with North to the top

  3. So we are building this huge municipal complex at SSpg Circle and Mt Vernon, but we are going to reduce the # of lanes on SSpgs Circle? What genius traffic designer thought his up?

    Seriously, is this a joke? Maybe I misunderstood the article. Are we going to design a pedestrian friendly utopia and outlaw cars?

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