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Hwy. 54W traffic light up for PTC vote

Councilman King cites liability for cost, potential for substandard businesses without signal at Line Creek Drive next to Planterra

The Peachtree City Council will vote Thursday on a developer’s request to apply for a new traffic light on Ga. Highway 54 West to serve a proposed shopping center on Line Creek Drive.

Though the light is nearly certain to make the already-bad commute along Hwy. 54 West even worse, Councilman Mike King noted in a letter to the editor that there are other considerations tied to the decision, including the city potentially having to pay for the “quarter million cost” of the light if the Georgia Department of Transportation approves it “over council’s objection.”

King noted that Trinity Development already has clients lined up for the property who want the traffic light.

“If we say no, we may very well be stuck with businesses that may not meet the standard to which we are accustomed,” King wrote.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. Thursday at City Hall.

King also addressed the matter of a second request from Trinity to allow a road connection from the shopping center to Planterra Way, which will require going across city-owned greenbelt along Planterra.

A number of Planterra residents have opposed such a connection, arguing that cut-through traffic would get worse than it already is, which is pretty bad considering the left turn lane on Planterra approaching the highway backs up all the way past the tennis center at peak commuting times.

The subdivision lacks sidewalks, and some residents worry that cut-through traffic puts residents in danger, particularly children in roadways.

“Council is very much aware of these concerns and will actively pursue remedies from companies located along Dividend Drive,” King said.

While residents in Planterra and in the Cardiff Park subdivision next door “have every right to voice their concern” over the road connection, King suggested the road would help tennis center members get to the planned RaceTrac gas station in a safer manner.

King also noted that there is a possibility the new shopping center could be connected to MacDuff Parkway as well.

At the Feb. 6 council meeting, Trinity representative Jim Lowe noted that a traffic study the company funded shows that the light meets the DOT’s eight-hour volume threshold indicating that a traffic light is necessary. However, the city’s traffic consulting firm noted that the light does not meet DOT’s guidelines for 1,000 feet of spacing between signals, as the light at Planterra Way and the light at MacDuff Parkway are both too close.

Lowe said the light is necessary to attract “quality” tenants to the site, known as The Overlook shopping center. National retailers are lined up for each store on the 81,000 sq. ft. site plan, with one being a grocery store, though Lowe declined Feb. 6 to publicly reveal which companies had made the commitment.

Regardless of council’s decision, the final say on the matter rests with the Georgia Department of Transportation since the light would be on the state highway system.

Council tabled both requests at the Feb. 6 meeting so they could review Trinity’s traffic study in detail and also have more questions answered.

A new traffic light, if approved, stands to affect not just residents who live in Wilksmoor Village, who rely on the corridor for their only way to and from home, but also businesses off the highway as well.

Chick-fil-A has withdrawn plans to build a new restaurant in front of The Overlook directly off Hwy. 54 in an outparcel immediately next to the proposed RaceTrac. Chick-fil-A is actively pursuing other locations to expand its offerings in Peachtree City, a company spokesperson said.

Even with Chick-fil-A off the table, there are a number of other fast-food restaurants anxious to take that spot, Lowe told council.

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