Brookhaven residents got a chance to look at the proposed plans for the Ashford-Dunwoody Road corridor Nov. 29 at an open house at City Hall.
Some were pleased with the proposed changes intended to deal with traffic congestion along the busy thoroughfare while others were angered with plans that will cut into their front yards.
“I know a lot of people are excited and also a lot of people have questions and concerns, especially at the big intersections that call for big changes,” said Councilmember Linley Jones, who represents residents living along Ashford-Dunwoody Road.
Jones said the plans do not necessarily represent one project that will be completed at the same time and that there are discreet projects within the overall plans that can be done quicker because they are smaller and less complex. When any construction will begin remains unknown.
“Everything hinges on funding,” she said.
The City Council approved $100,000 in the 2017 budget for design and engineering of improvements along the three-mile stretch of Ashford-Dunwoody Road, said Public Works Director Richard Meehan.
The City Council is expected to hear a final report in January from consultants from Gresham, Smith and Partners, the firm awarded the $125,050 planning contract last October.
“A lot of people have expressed they like the overall, big picture concept, but it’s the details that have some people concerned,” Meehan said. “Right now we’re trying to settle on the big picture.”
A major north-south route through the city, Ashford-Dunwoody Road is a largely two-lane road often overwhelmed by traffic from the hotels, schools and parks that it serves.
The plan calls for some short-term and long-term recommendations at the Ashford-Dunwoody Road and Johnson Ferry Road intersection, including extending the right lane northbound on Ashford-Dunwoody from the south of Publix to Johnson Ferry.
Ben Wilcox, who lives in Cambridge Park, said he was pleased with the proposed redesign of the Ashford-Dunwoody and Johnson Ferry intersection, saying it was “favorable for the neighborhood.”
“It helps control traffic and reduce back up … and it will create a more community hub,” Wilcox said. “I really like how this [design] is aimed at managing traffic, but the side benefits favor the neighborhoods … and will help reduce cut-through traffic.”
Rachel Bartlone, who has lived on Ashford-Dunwoody Road between West Nancy Creek Drive and Brenton Way for two years, said she is infuriated with the changes proposed for her neighborhood. Other residents along the narrowest stretch of the road are also angered about proposed changes.
Plans for the intersection of Ashford-Dunwoody and West Nancy Creek include installing left turn lanes on eastbound and westbound West Nancy Creek Drive with left turn arrow signals and utilizing city-owned right-of-way to provide sidewalks, a landscape strip and a multi-use path.
“This is a nightmare,” she said.
“We bought our home to be within walking distance from Montgomery Elementary … and now they want to take 36-feet of my front yard,” she said. The swath is part the city’s 50-feet of right-of-way, she acknowledged.
Bartlone said when she asked a consultant about the proposed plans and how it would affect her home, he told her that is why he “would not buy property on a busy street.”
“This has been an infuriating process. They [consultants and city officials] are not addressing any of the concerns of the citizens,” she said.
Bartlone said she fears her property values will decrease and that the proposed plans will only benefit commuters who use the road and not the people who live in Brookhaven.
“This is a busy thoroughfare for people who don’t live in Brookhaven and don’t pay taxes,” she said. “I don’t feel the residents want this to be a thoroughfare.”
The vision for the overall street is adding sidewalks and multiuse paths, as well as grassy medians in some spots. Much of the work could be done within existing right-of-way, though that can still mean cutting down trees and taking up dozens of feet of what many residents now use as their front yards, including trees and shrubs that shield their homes from the business of the road.
Meehan said he understood the concerns of people living near West Nancy Creek Drive and Montgomery Elementary School, but said much of what they consider their front yards is actually right-of-way.
He said the city would replace any natural screens, such as trees, the residents have planted in the right-of-way to shield their homes from the noise of Ashford-Dunwoody Road.
“We want to work with the property owners … and a lot of what is proposed is contingent on funding,” he said. He said major work near Montgomery Elementary would likely not begin for another five to 10 years.
“Some people have said to do nothing. And that is always an option if that is what the City Council and the community wants,” Meehan said. “But I don’t think it’s what a majority of residents want. They want to see the corridor improved.”
Comments on the open house materials will be accepted through Dec. 14 at ADCorridorStudy@BrookhavenGA.gov.
Proposed changes at key intersections:
Peachtree Road at Ashford-Dunwoody Road
1. Extend right turn lane on southbound Ashford-Dunwoody Road to Sanctuary at Oglethorpe
2. Convert right turn lane from Ashford-Dunwoody Rd to southbound Peachtree Rd into a barrier separated free-flow lane, controlled by a right turn arrow signal with pedestrian activated push button to facilitate safe crossing across Ashford-Dunwoody Road.
3. Install a dedicated right turn lane on southbound Peachtree Rpad at Ashford-Dunwoody Road.
4. Increase turn radius in northeast corner of intersection, install a raised concrete island, and
provide space for bus shelter and waiting area.
5. Construct appropriate pedestrian and streetscape improvements.
Windsor Parkway at Ashford-Dunwoody Road
1. Install left turn lane able to accommodate approximately two vehicles on northbound Ashford-Dunwoody Road at the entrance to St. Martin’s Episcopal Church and School.
2. Install left turn lane able to accommodate approximately two vehicles on northbound Ashford-Dunwoody Road at Windsor Parkway.
3. Install right turn lane on eastbound Windsor Parkway at Ashford-Dunwoody Road.
4. Install traffic signal at the intersection of Windsor Parkway and Ashford-Dunwoody Road.
5. Consider the possibility of a standard, single-lane urban roundabout at the intersection to help calm traffic.
Short-term recommendations for Johnson Ferry Road at Ashford-Dunwoody Road
1. Extend the right lane on northbound Ashford-Dunwoody Road from south of Publix to Johnson Ferry Road. Restripe existing lanes to create one longer dedicated left turn lane and one left/through/right lane. Adjust traffic signal timing and phasing accordingly. Install new striping and overhead signage as appropriate.
2. Relocate existing narrow median divider to center line to prevent left turns into Publix from
southbound Ashford-Dunwoody Road and separate northbound and southbound traffic.
3. Improve the existing mid-block pedestrian crossing near Kadleston Way to include a small
refuge island and pedestrian crossing signal.
Long-term recommendations for Johnson Ferry Road at Ashford-Dunwoody Road
1. Realign Ashford-Dunwoody Road south of Kadleston Way between Publix and Peachtree Golf Club and tie Ashford-Dunwoody Road into Johnson Ferry Road at Blair Circle.
• Include one dedicated left turn lane on northbound Ashford-Dunwoody Road (to turn onto
westbound Johnson Ferry Rd) and one left/through/right turn lane.
• Convert Kadleston Way to a cul-de-sac, preserving pedestrian access to Ashford-Dunwoody Road.
2. Realign Johnson Ferry Road west of Waddeston Way to travel behind the existing shopping center and tie into Ashford-Dunwoody Road at Woods Drive (may be contingent upon redevelopment of shopping center).
• Install one left/through lane and two dedicated right turn lanes on eastbound Johnson Ferry Road (to turn onto southbound Ashford-Dunwoody Road) and install one left turn lane on northbound Ashford-Dunwoody Road (to turn onto westbound Johnson Ferry Road).
• Install a traffic signal at the new intersection at Woods Drive and remove the existing traffic signal at the Valero gas station.
3. Design and construct a planted median along the shared roadway and install directional median openings to allow left turns where needed, preserving access to businesses.
Marist School/Harts Mill Road at Ashford-Dunwoody Road
1. Lengthen the northbound left turn lane on Ashford-Dunwoody Road at Harts Mill Road/Marist School by restriping the existing two-way left turn lane.
2. Work with Perimeter Traffic Operations Program (PTOP) to optimize signal timing and phasing.
West Nancy Creek Drive at Ashford-Dunwoody Road
1. Install left turn lanes on eastbound and westbound West Nancy Creek Drive with left turn arrow signals.
2. Work with Perimeter Traffic Operations Program (PTOP) to optimize signal timing and phasing.
Montgomery Elementary School at Ashford-Dunwoody Road
1. Upgrade traffic signal and pedestrian crossing at school exit and at pedestrian crossing at Chaucer Lane.
2. Install right turn lane on northbound Ashford-Dunwoody Rd at Montgomery Elementary School driveway.
3. Work with DeKalb County Schools and Montgomery Elementary School officials to develop
plans for modifying patterns for pick-up and dropoff traffic. Identify possible opportunities to reduce queuing on Ashford-Dunwoody Road.
4. Work with Perimeter Traffic Operations Program (PTOP) to optimize timing/phasing of traffic signal at school exit.
Perimeter Summit Parkway/Oak Forest Drive at Ashford-Dunwoody Road
1. Extend the right turn lane on southbound Ashford-Dunwoody Road to north of Ashford Green, creating two southbound through lanes and dedicated right turn lanes into Ashford Green and Perimeter Summit Parkway. Transition to one southbound lane south of the intersection at Perimeter Summit Parkway/Oak Forest
Drive. Consider the use of a raised concrete island at Perimeter Summit Parkway to channelize right turns and overhead signage to reduce last-minute lane changes.
2. Lengthen the left turn lane on northbound Ashford-Dunwoody Road approaching Perimeter Summit Parkway/Oak Forest Drive.
3. Install second through lane on northbound Ashford-Dunwoody Road approaching Perimeter Summit Parkway/Oak Forest Drive.
4. Work with Perimeter Traffic Operations Program (PTOP) to optimize signal timing/phasing.
5. Design and construct a gateway feature in the southwest quadrant of the intersection at Perimeter Summit Parkway and Ashford-Dunwoody Road.