Sandy Springs Traffic Engineer David Lowe answers questions about the mini-roundabout proposal from Marchman Drive residents Joel and Marie Blackford, who have lived there for 55 years. (Bob Pepalis)

Residents along Lake Forrest Road came out for an open house at Sandy Springs City Hall on Sept. 21 to learn how a mini-roundabout could solve traffic congestion and accident issues.

Motorists on Northwood Drive attempting to turn left have limited views of southbound traffic on Lake Forrest Drive due to traffic congestion backing up from the Allen Road intersection. This results in a high number of accidents, said Mark Lenters, a civil and transportation engineer with Kimley Horn.

In the past five years, 39 accidents have been recorded at Lake Forrest and Northwood.

Joel Blackford and his wife, Marie, live in a home off Marchman Drive, which is the first street south of Northwood Drive off Lake Forrest Drive.

“We’ve lived there 55 years, and we watched traffic increase, we watched speed increase,” he said.

When they take Northwood Drive to come home, they need to make that left turn onto Lake Forrest.

“I believe in prayer and prayer works, but that’s usually how we get through because there may be a dozen cars before someone is courteous and says ‘It’s only going to take me 10 seconds, 15 seconds to let this person out,’” Blackford said.

Lenters said a mini-roundabout would slow traffic down, but would keep vehicles moving through the Lake Forrest-Allen Road intersection. Traffic studies and modeling have shown that it would stop traffic congestion from occurring at the Northwood Drive intersection where residents like the Blackfords struggle to make a left turn.

Lenters said that construction of the mini-roundabout would be faster than a standard roundabout, as the city would not need to purchase a lot of land for right-of-way.

City Traffic Engineer David Lowe said medians in the lanes of traffic approaching the roundabout would make the lane curve, forcing motorists to slow down.

Comments can still be made on the proposal. Project information can be found at Comments can be emailed to

In addition to animated videos that modeled the intersection, traffic engineering consultants from Kimley Horn displayed aerial views of the mini-roundabout with toy vehicles scaled to the same size. (Bob Pepalis)

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.