A consultant for Sandy Springs identified 14 high crash locations on roadways in the North End of the city and suggested fixes in the North End Roadway Safety Analysis presented to City Council on Oct. 18.
“The purpose of this study was really just to answer the question, how do we improve transportation safety in the north end for all users?” Kristen Westcott, the city’s traffic/transportation unit manager, told the council.
Stantec’s Keith Strickland served as the project manager for the roadway analysis. He said key takeaways when assessing the needs in the North End were to solve traffic operational and safety issues. The area has inadequate pedestrian and bicycle facilities as well.
The number of pedestrians who walk along the Dunwoody Place corridor gives it the potential to become the main street or the “people” street for the North End area, he said.
The 18 projects that range from short-term to long-term cover an area greater than three miles. The projects cover the entire study area, Strickland said.
Westcott said as the city goes through its annual budgeting cycle, the staff is glad to have some short-term projects to make some immediate safety improvements. That’s especially true of locations shared with the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), which might offer opportunities for its quick response program. The long-term projects would have to be part of the next Transportation Master Plan update.
Short-term fixes improve safety
The short-term projects include signing and pavement marking improvements. They also consist of minor intersection improvements and short multi-use path projects.
The first short-term project involves Northridge Road at Ga. 400 southbound.
“This intersection actually had by far the greatest number of accidents in the whole study area. These accidents were primarily related to left and right turn movements,” he said.
Between 2016 and 2020 there have been 324 crashes at this location. The intersection has left turns from Northridge Road, right turns off the Ga. 400 ramp onto Dunwoody Place and Northridge Road. It’s difficult for pedestrians to cross Northridge Road here.
The project would add a second left turn from Dunwoody Place onto Northridge. New pavement markings would cut the radius for right turns from southbound Dunwoody Place to Northridge.
Extensive intersection fixes come in mid-term
The mid-term projects include more extensive intersection improvements and overhead signage including on one of the Ga. 400 ramps, Strickland said.
One mid-term project he described was adding a new left turn lane on Roberts Drive at Pride Place.
“This improvement should drastically reduce the number of rear-end accidents related to that eastbound to northbound left-turn movement,” he said.
The project would add a multi-use path from Ga. 400 to Dunwoody Place along Roberts Drive.
Strickland said they hope to include many of these improvements with GDOT’s 400 Express Lanes project.
Roadway modifications seen in long-term
Extensive roadway modifications, including raised medians, are included in the long-term projects. Extensive multi-use paths and even a bridge widening at the Ga. 400 interchange for pedestrian use are other suggested projects.
One of these long-term projects would be on Roswell Road between Hope Road and Hightower Trail.
“This is a very congested area with three closely spaced intersections,” he said. “And in the study years that we looked at it had almost 100 crashes. And more importantly, a large percentage of those crashes were injury crashes.”
The project would realign Hope Road and East Hightower Trail to create a single, signalized intersection. This would require a reduction of Meineke’s parking area.