Brookhaven Councilmember Bates Mattison will hold public meetings on the proposed Brookhaven Heights traffic calming petition this week on June 15 and June 16.

The Wednesday, June 15 meeting, will be held at Brookhaven City Hall, 4362 Peachtree Road, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on the first floor. The Thursday, June 16 meeting, will be at Clack’s Corner, 1410 Cartecay Drive; in case of rain, the meeting will be held at City Hall.

The City Council deferred voting until July 12 on the neighborhood’s petition for traffic calming measures to cut down on cut-through traffic. For city information on the petition, click here.

At the council’s June 7 meeting, councilmembers heard from dozens of passionate residents in favor and opposed to the traffic calming petition that has been some two years in the making. Mattison represents the Brookhaven Heights neighborhood.

The traffic calming resolution includes a request to partially close Standard Drive and Thornwell Drive by making them right-in only from North Druid Hills Road and also partially closing Oglethorpe Avenue by making it right-in right-out only from North Druid Hills Road.

Traffic calming measures proposed for Brookhaven Heights include partial road closures, roundabouts and speed tables. Click to enlarge.
Traffic calming measures proposed for Brookhaven Heights include partial road closures, roundabouts and speed tables. Click to enlarge.

Many residents opposing the traffic calming petition say if those three roads are partially closed off, the remaining two roads off North Druid Hills – Pine Grove Avenue and Colonial Drive – will be flooded with even more traffic congestion.

“This is not traffic calming, this is traffic diversion,” said Tom Sanders, who said he has lived on Matthews Street since 1999, at the June 7 meeting.

Supporters of the petition said the traffic measures, which also include 12 new speed humps and a roundabout at the intersection of Oglethorpe Avenue and Colonial Drive, would force cut-through traffic out of their neighborhood and provide safety for families.

Those opposing it say they don’t want their streets to absorb the relocated traffic. Many of those opposing the plan also questioned if the required 65 percent of signatures from residents required by the city to consider implementing traffic calming measures in a neighborhood were valid. The city’s ordinance requires a minimum of 65 percent approval from property owners affected by the plan.

 Public Works Director Richard Meehan said traffic analysis by the city showed that during one day:

  • 4,000 cars traveled on Colonial Drive
  • 1,500 cars traveled on Standard Drive
  • 1,000 cars traveled on Thornwell Drive
  • 400 cars traveled on Oglethorpe Avenue

The decision to partially close access roads into the neighborhood came from the residents living in the neighborhood, Meehan said, and not necessarily from a traffic study commissioned by the city.

“Please also note that while the study does make recommendations, the traffic calming process is a neighborhood driven process. While the study makes conclusions and recommendations, ultimately, it is the neighborhood petitioning for the changes that are proposed,” Meehan stated in an email to an opponent.

“Based on the policy, the city council is obligated to act upon a petition for traffic calming that is presented to the city with the minimum of 65 percent approval of the property owners of the affected neighborhood,” Meehan said.

Meehan added his analysis predicted there would be no significant increase of traffic on other streets by partially closing Oglethorpe Avenue, Thornwell Drive and Standard Drive.

All residents and city officials agreed that the main traffic problem is on Peachtree Road at North Druid Hills Road and Dresden Drive. The backup at these intersections results in motorists seeking a quicker route to I-85 and Buford Highway and taking residential streets to get there.

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.