New fixes for PTC 54W traffic snarl?

Peachtree City Council members viewing the traffic study visual are (L-R) Mike King, Mayor Vanessa Fleisch, Terry Ernst, Kim Learnard and Eric Imker. Photo/John Munford.

New intersections would allow ‘continuous flow’ for westbound traffic, but 6 lanes are needed

Converting two intersections along traffic-choked Ga. Highway 54 West in Peachtree City could be a key solution in improving the afternoon westbound clog of cars stretching back to Willowbend Road.

The “continuous green T” intersections would allow westbound traffic to flow through without stopping, as side-street traffic would be limited by a right-in, right-out access for southbound vehicles and a stacking lane for northbound vehicles turning left to go west, according to the city’s consulting traffic engineering firm.

While the eastbound traffic on Hwy. 54 would have to stop for the signal to allow cars exiting from the south to turn left, those left-turning cars would have to stack into a merging lane and wait for an opening to get into the westbound lanes on the highway, Pond and Company Director of Transportation Richard Fangmann told the city council Monday night.

The changes were proposed for the intersection serving The Avenue and Marketplace shopping centers, and also Line Creek Drive where The Overlook shopping center has been approved by the city. Westbound traffic would still have to stop, however, at the Huddleston Road intersection in-between those lights.

The recommendations came from a $70,000 study approved by council in January to investigate ways to improve traffic on Hwy. 54.

Because there is no need for land acquisition, the continuous green T intersections could be built in about “a couple of months” by Fangmann’s estimation. Much of the change would occur by razing and reconstructing parts of the median, he said.

Since one of the intersection changes would affect the Marketplace shopping center, Pond proposed adding a stoplight on Ga. Highway 74, north of the Hwy. 54 intersection, to offer better access for both Marketplace and the Westpark Walk shopping center. Like Marketplace, Westpark stands to lose a full-movement intersection on Hwy. 54 that would be converted to a right-in, right-out as well.

Pond also suggested adding a second left turn lane southbound on MacDuff Parkway and lengthening the existing left turn lane which is far too short.

Yet another recommendation was to add a second northbound left turn lane leaving Planterra Way, but that was met with concern from Imker and residents of the Planterra Ridge subdivision about “encouraging” more cut through traffic instead of discouraging it. Fangmann said the timing of the light could be changed in an effort to discourage cut-through traffic.

The study also recommended against a connection from the Overlook shopping center to Planterra Way, but instead building a road linking from Overlook to the MacDuff Crossing shopping center instead to provide interparcel connectivity and keep some cars off Hwy. 54.

Another proposal would add a second left turn lane going northbound from Huddleston Drive, as the steep grade of the hill on that road also slows traffic down in the area, Fangmann said.

It was noted that the developer of the Overlook shopping center likes the new continuous green T intersection and is willing to fund its implementation. Beyond that, Councilman Eric Imker said the overall price of all the various short-term fixes is palatable at roughly $1 million total.

But by 2040 all those fixes won’t be near enough, as the traffic count along Hwy. 54 is expected to increase from the existing 36,000 vehicles a day to 60,000, Fangmann reported. That’s why Pond is recommending the road be widened to six lanes, which will require coordination with the Atlanta Regional Commission and the Fayette County Commission to line up federal funding.

Also in the distant future it will be worth looking at changes to the intersection of Hwy. 54 and 74 itself, perhaps including a grade separation, though it’s premature at this point to have a concrete recommendation, Fangmann added.

Imker took a jab at the Fayette County Commission, saying it would be nice if the city had federal funding now for the Hwy. 54 improvements instead of seeing the money spent out of county.

“I remind everybody that this is in our county and not outside our county,” Imker said.

Imker was vaguely referring to a decision from the commission recently to pool its federal funding for several projects to contribute toward the modification of the Interstate 85 interchange with Ga. Highway 74 in Fairburn, which is a significant choke point for city commuters heading into Atlanta and beyond.

The bridge over the CSX railroad tracks would accommodate six lanes of traffic, though it would be tight, said Pond Director of Transportation Planning Richard Fangmann, who presented the suggestions to council Monday night.

Much of the reason for the glut of traffic is the lack of east-west connectivity with Coweta County, as Castlewood Road is the nearest such connection about 5.5 miles to the north and Rockaway Road is the nearest such connection to the south about 6 miles away from Hwy. 54, Fangmann explained.

Bostonian212
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Mud....I disagree...

with you regarding your comment that MacDuff extension won't help. Why would Eastbound drivers on Hwy. 54 pass MacDuff (once the extension is completed) when they will be able to save travel time and avoid 54/74 intersection to continue their journeys northbound on 74? Or why would anyone continue South on 74 to get to 54 when they can ( once completed) use the newly created MacDuff bypass?

Yes, perhaps MacDuff area residents need an alternative in/out of the West Village. But be assured that it will be at the expense of becoming the new by-pass for 74/54 intersection. It won't be long after it's opened that you will hear and read of discussions for the need to widen MacDuff into 4 lanes.

To think that MacDuff will not take vehicle traffic away from the now congested 54 corridor is foolish in my opinion.
Now is the time to change the name of MacDuff Parkway to MacDuff By-Pass!

mudcat
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Sorry for the delay, I'm used to people responding below me

Steve Brown does that top of the page thing - just to get attention. Bad habit Yankee scum. Get over yourself.

Sorry, where was I? Oh yea, MacDuff. I disagree with your disagreement. 2 points on driving habits.

1. Northbound - sure enough, some Cowetians and almost all MacDuffians will go north in the AM to avoid 54/74. Or at least they will until that backs up worse than 54/74 - like the first day. Yes, as you say the widen MacDuff movement will begin and it is worth noting the bridge that is planned over the RR that the Macduff extension will have is going to be 6 lanes. 6 lanes! Go figure. Peaceful easy feeling living the life in Centennial - or Brent West Village - talk about an ego - Brent West Village - Geeez. I guess $3.5 million buys you naming rights.

2. Southbound. So, go ahead and cut through on the MacDuff bypass. Who do you meet up with when you exit MacDuff to head west on 54? Oh yea, your fellow travelers from the north. Anyone think that taking the bypass to merge into the same traffic makes sense?

When you are trying to move east/west traffic more efficiently through an area, you need more east/west lanes - not a by-pass that eventually merges with itself. Think it through or just stay home and don't drive.

Bostonian212
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Southbound...

If you merge back onto 54 at MacDuff to continue your westward journey...you are now out of PTC as you are now entering Coweta. Hence...PTC traffic issue lightens up. So...traffic congestion at the 54/74 intersection is now lightened due to the MacDuff By-Pass.

Thought it through and traffic problem on 54 from 74 becomes less congested! So now I will not need to stay home as long as I am commuting on the PTC stretch of 54.

24leadboot
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TDK

For those of you who've lived in PTC longer than I have (7 years) - enlighten me a bit.

It seems to me (I'm no traffic expert) that the worst traffic along the 54/74 corridor is Hwy 54, westbound of 74, in the afternoons / evenings, and Hwy 54 eastbound, coming into Peachtree City, in the mornings.

Again - I'm no expert....but TDK Boulevard seems to be aimed in the "general" direction of Christopher Road, across the creek in Coweta County. I'm sure there are plenty of private landowners who own land in between Line Creek and Christopher Road. But - to me - it sure seems like a TDK Extension, connecting seamlessly into Christopher Road westbound, so that TDK would continue on unabated until TDK / Christopher would connect with Hwy 54 southbound - would be a great alternative route for redirecting some of the traffic I mentioned above.

I know there was a lot of disagreement years ago with the TDK extension. Can someone enlighten me to who was FOR the TDK Extension years ago....and who was AGAINST it.....and maybe the reasons for both sides of the argument?

mudcat
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For it and then against it? That's Steve Brown. Yes he was both

Nothing unusual about someone changing their mind, but he was mayor of Peachtree City at the time, so his opinions influenced a lot of people.

The big advantage of a TDK extension was and is adding an east/west road to relieve the only real east/west road (54) from its over-cpacity traffic. It is a no-brainer, if that's all it was. Many where for it, including some politicians, the business community and companies in the industrial park.

But the objectors back then noted that our hometown development company secretly had an option on most of the land on the Coweta side of Line Creek and the people opposed to the extension felt that this road would encourage massive residential development and cause a huge influx of Coweta people using the new road to come into PTC for schools, recreation, shopping, crime and so forth. This quickly became politicized because of a strong hatred some of our pols had for development in general and the local development company in particular. No one with any common sense was honestly fearful of a Coweta invasion, but there sure used it to rile people up and gain support for their side - sort of like making the Hobby Lobby case a woman's health issue. Some of those old toothless tigers will attack after my posting - read them carefully and you'll see what it was like to live here 15 years ago.

Needless to say, the objectors won even though the 54 mess was getting worse every day, but in fairness no one forsaw the recession, the demise of the development company or the land being foreclosed and then sold to the Mormon Church who owns it today. What they plan to do with it is unknown.

What is known is that PTC owns a small piece of land that effectively blocks any extension of TDK. I guess the county could pull emminent domain on them, but they don't seem inclined to do that. I do think circumstances have changed and I know 54 traffic has gotten worse and none of these silly ideas like a continous through lane (past just one light, but not any of the others) or an extension of MacDuff to 74 are going to help. Therefore it might be good idea for the City to meet with Mormon Church and talk about it. It is simple common sense chicken soup planning - can't hurt, might help.

dar thompson
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The answer

Well part of the answer would be to build TDK and annex part of Cowetta County into PTC.

Then you expand the revenue base for the city by establishing yet more lake-front property. This also gives you control of what happens on the Cowetta side of TDK Blvd. which has always been a concern with the TDK component.

PTC needs to expand it's borders. I would suggest throwing away a plan that was put together a zillion years ago and evolve to the year 2014. We, as a city, continue to operate 20 years behind the curve. I just don't get why we are okay with average.

Spyglass
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Dar, why put stuff like this up here?

You know it's absolutely hogwash to think of annexing part of Coweta County...funny part is, some will read it and think it's a good idea.

dar thompson
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As I said

Stay tuned...things are not always what they seem.

moelarrycurly
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Not to mention

the private property owners over there will not go for it, nor will Coweta County. I agree, hogwash.

NUK_1
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Really bad thinking on annexing Coweta land

While cities within their own counties have the power under GA law to annex a lot of county land, that's not the case here when a city in one county tries to annex land from an adjacent county.

Coweta and the landowners would fight this like hell and it's a really bad idea to even attempt to try it.

Go back to worrying about the Kedron Fieldhouse.

moelarrycurly
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Forget TDK

It should not be an option. It was a bad idea years ago and is an even worse idea now. To relieve the east/west from Coweta thru PTC over to Fayetteville and beyond, create a new east/west leg south of 54. Bring a new road in from 74S between the north entrance to the BSC or PAC or BBC or SEX or whatever it is being called these days and the southside of the SANY tract, over into Coweta and join it into the intersection of McIntosh Trail, Stallings Rd. and Byrom Rd. You have just allowed east/west traffic to filter north or south onto 74 to get to Dividend, Redwine and Crosstown. It eliminates the direct route onto Crosstown which we do not want and will fight. ARC needs to come on board, Coweta, too.

mudcat
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May not need to bother annexing to accomplish the goal

assuming the goal is to get an east/west alternative road to 54 built without spawning a huge development on the Coweta side. The Mormon church who now owns that land could be convinced to build their mega-church and wooded retreat if we agreed to build the road the way we wanted it and to serve their facilities with our sewer. We have excess capacity, all the dopes that dropped the ball on the Senoia sewer opportunity are gone from city council and best of all we would have a say in how the west side of Lake McIntosh gets developed. And even better this can be done in a way that keeps the land developers out. In other words - no subdivisions over there.

Without some agreement like that I can see the Mormons building anyway with septic tanks or an on-site sewer system right next to our drinking water. For those who say impossible - go look at Lake Edith behind the trailer park by Smith and Davis.

It is worth pursuing at least an opening conversation with the Mormons if you can send somebody sensible from council - like Mike and Terry and for crying out loud - keep the county out of it. It is the city who controls the land that either allows or prevents the road from being built.

dar thompson
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Stay Tuned

Things are not always what they seem. Stay tuned!

moelarrycurly
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mudcat what mega-church and wooded retreat

are you talking about?

mudcat
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The one the Morman Church will decide to build

when they realize that they will never, ever sell the property for development.

moelarrycurly
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I don't know if this counts

but they have already broken ground on a 16560 sq. ft. church, seating for 270, parking for 170 cars on 8.086 acres at 157 Bob Smith Rd. in Sharpsburg. I have no idea why, but David Barlow was there pressing the flesh at the ceremony on that rainy day a month or two ago.

Spyglass
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Any of these "Continuous T's" around the ATL?

I'm up for most anything that would help...although the golf cart paths are rarely jammed up in that area.

The last paragraph is BEYOND obvious and should have been addressed 10 years ago.

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