PTC vote: 54W light, Planterra link

Thursday night the Peachtree City Council will consider a request to apply for a new traffic light on Ga. Highway 54 West at Line Creek Drive to serve a new shopping center.

The city acknowledges that the new light will likely make the city’s worst traffic problem even worse, but officials contend that improved safety may make it a worthwhile tradeoff.

The same “Overlook” shopping center also will be the subject of a related but controversial proposal up for consideration Thursday: to allow the developer to link an access road from the shopping center to Planterra Way.

Such a request has been strongly opposed in the past by residents in the Planterra Ridge and Cardiff Park subdivisions because of a potential for an increase in cut-through traffic. The city has full control over that request because it owns greenspace along Planterra Way that would be necessary for Trinity-Overlook to own to complete the road path.

Both matters will be debated during the council meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. Thursday at City Hall.

Residents are expected to ask council to conduct a public hearing on the road connection so council can hear from residents who live in those neighborhoods. Council will be presented with photos taken Friday afternoon of traffic on Planterra Way backed up from the highway past the tennis center due to motorists using it as a cut-through.

Planterra resident Caren Russell said Monday that the existing cut-through traffic remains a big problem for the subdivision, but connecting a road from the new shopping center to Planterra Way could make it far worse.

“We just want time for citizens to be able to voice their opinions,” Russell said.

As for the proposed traffic light that will affect residents in the Wilksmoor (West) Village, businesses along the highway and commuters going back and forth from Coweta County, city staff recognizes the light will increase delays on Ga. Highway 54 during peak traffic times.

However, the new light would “enhance safety for motorists accessing development on Line Creek Drive,” according to a memo to council from City Engineer David Borkowski, who is recommending the traffic signal application be approved by council.

Still, some on council may look at the existing traffic service level of ‘F’ (the worst rating) for the highway’s intersections with Line Creek Drive, Planterra Way and MacDuff Parkway as a factor weighing against approval for the new traffic signal.

The final decision on the traffic light rests with the Georgia Department of Transportation. If the traffic light is approved, city staff can work with developer Trinity-Overlook LLC and the Georgia Department of Transportation on required improvements to the highway, Borkowski wrote.

The DOT in the past has said ‘no’ to a new traffic light at the intersection, citing the proximity of the Planterra Way and MacDuff Parkway lights.

A third and less controversial request from Trinity-Overlook is to have the city abandon the right-of-way along Line Creek Drive and Line Creek Court to allow development of the shopping center. The city has an appraisal estimating the property having a market value of $100,000 to compensate for the land.

The shopping center will be fairly modest in size with 82,554 square feet of space, not including the RaceTrac and two other out-parcels closer to the highway.