Council offers no solutions for Hwy. 54 traffic, just politics

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The proposals regarding changes to Ga. highways 54 and 74 are extreme, harmful and a huge impact to Peachtree City. Businesses at The Avenue, Marketplace or Westpark should be very concerned.

It is obvious that City Council either does not understand what they are pushing or does not care. None of this originated from GDOT, who does some approvals only because a city wants it and for no other reason.

Pond, a long time used by Peachtree City engineering company, obviously was not given instructions to see if they could find a real solution. As I saw while at City Hall, they were told to find some proposal and present it.

A lot more could be said here, and more clearly, but it would be too long for the paper to print. So, if you want more detail, please go to the article on donhaddix.com. There expandable maps, files, etc., are included as well. It is much easier to follow what is being said with the map enlarged in front of you.

The traffic issues on Hwy. 54 are not new. Nor are the current efforts to find answers. There is a huge difference between seeking answers that will work versus answers that please developers or are intended to score political points.

To confirm this, the 2010 Transportation Plan for Peachtree City is found on the county website. Also articles on donhaddix.com talking about the history, plans, etc., concerning Line Creek, MacDuff, 74/54, etc.

Let there be no mistake about it, the motivation for all of this is and has been the enabling of the Line Creek Trinity Overlook development. Specifically what they call an “Upscale Development,” meaning a Greenwise Grocery store.

Problem is Publix did an experiment, years ago, in Florida, building three free-standing Publix Greenwise stores. Then they abandoned the concept, opting to merge the products into their regular Publix stores instead.

Search on the Publix site for Greenwise locations. We already have two Publix Greenwise stores, one at Wilshire and one on 54 east.

Another problem is, there are no legal documents binding this development to what stores will be there.

Remember the last Line Creek proposal? Kohl’s was pushed as the development when it actually was not, but had already signed on at Fischer Road [in Coweta County] and later backed out.

Then came the Green T at Line Creek. Note the proposal did not allow for traffic to cross Hwy. 54 between Line Creek and the RAM Properties. You have to use either MacDuff or the Walmart road to cross.

But GDOT added a crosswalk, which requires a stop light on both directions on Hwy. 54. To which former City Manager Jim Pennington said, “DOT wants a pedestrian crosswalk built into the ‘green T.’ That almost defeats the purpose of the ‘green T.’ We don’t understand it.”

That means no continuous flow west-bound lane.

Where was the consideration for pedestrian, wheelchair, bicycle, etc., traffic?

Yet, they persevered. The council altered the Green T design and added more changes and studies to both hwys. 54 and 74. The total is already over $200,000 just in studies.

All of this for what is called “Short Term Improvements” in their own materials. All this chaos and money for “Short Term”?

I tried to spell out all the chaos, confusion, etc., in written form. But it just cannot be done, so the old adage of a “Picture is worth a thousand words,” prevailed.

On donhaddix.com, at the top of the page, under “Topics.” you will find, “Traffic.” That contains articles relating to traffic issues impacting Peachtree City. The most current contains maps and plans that can be enlarged and studied along with some observations to consider.

For here, simply shuffling traffic around is not an improvement. Forcing people to drive extra distances, spend more time on hwys. 74 and 54 is not congestion relief. Forcing more traffic to use the 74/54 intersection will not reduce the problems of the most congested intersection in Fayette. Encouraging people to drive yet even more through residential areas is not enhancing our home life.

In example, you will not be able to go directly from The Avenue to Marketplace or Marketplace to the Avenue. You will be forced to use the new traffic light by Pike Nurseries to go south on Hwy. 74 or east on Hwy. 54 from Marketplace. You will have to use a merge lane when leaving The Avenue to go west on Hwy. 54.

Also, the so-called continuous flow intersections will not be continuous. The traffic light at Huddleston already backs traffic up into The Avenue/Marketplace intersection. MacDuff already backs traffic up to Line Creek. That will continue and it will stop traffic.

Will any of this give relief from Coweta commuter traffic? No, it ignores the elephant in the room.

If council thinks MacDuff will give enough relief to make this look better, that is political thinking.

It also begs the question of why do any of this until MacDuff is finished so we know what the impact will be?

What is needed are more ramps, in east Coweta County, onto I-85. GDOT liked my proposal to connect Fischer Road to I-85 to give some traffic relief from north-bound Coweta commuter traffic.

Turning Fischer Road into a highway, or building a new highway, from I-85 to Ga. Highway 85, is even better. That would bleed off Senoia and Meriwether County traffic as well, in example. The 74/85 intersection and Peachtree City simply can no longer handle the Coweta and other out of county traffic.

Concerning those who are once again wanting TDK extended, that huge retail and residential development, McIntosh Village, is still on the developers’ books and ready to go. The only changes we would see will be drastically more traffic on Hwy. 74 and congestion at 54/74.

I have said it before and will say it again, there are no solutions within Peachtree City. Simply shifting congestion from A to B is political, not a solution. Nor is adding yet two more traffic lights a solution.

We need real solutions, not developer enhancements.

Don Haddix
Peachtree City, Ga.

[Haddix is a former mayor of Peachtree City.]