A colossal waste of $9 million for 74-54 ‘fix’ that will fail

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Citizen-Letters-2

The proposal to spend $9 million solving left turn problems from Ga. Highway 74 onto Ga. Highway 54 is a total waste of money. The problem is the backup – morning and evening and more and more often, throughout the day – on Hwy. 54 West caused by years of unintelligent design, caving in to developers, and neglect of that road.

The problem isn’t the intersection itself. It’s the umpteen traffic lights to the west on Hwy. 54. I’m sure the engineering firm who is redesigning the 74-54 intersection is happy to invest the time and be paid handsomely for doing so.

No matter how “nice” you make it for folks to travel through the 74/54 intersection, if there’s no place to go once you get on the west side of the intersection on Hwy. 54, traffic will be stopped. Traffic will continue to back up to Lake Peachtree on Hwy. 54 just as it does right now. The $9 million will have been wasted.

The traffic light at the Avenue/Market Place Boulevard will continue to stop traffic going westbound.

The traffic light at the Best Buy/Huddleston Road will continue to stop traffic going westbound.

The traffic light at the Walmart/Planterra Way will continue to stop traffic going westbound.

The split signal traffic light at Line Creek will continue to be a hazard for traffic going westbound, contributing to backups.

The traffic light at the MacDuff Parkway will continue to stop traffic going westbound.

Get the picture? Drivers will continue to “block the box.” Nothing will move because there is no place to go.

I see the problem. You see the problem. How come City Council doesn’t see the problem?

I’ve been telling them this for years, even when I was on City Council, but no one would listen. A proposal that would “help” the traffic flow was given but summarily dismissed. I guess since it wasn’t their idea it was not to be considered.

The solution involves a bold City Council who is more interested in helping the situation rather than getting reelected.

We need to shut down the “left-in/left-outs” along the corridor of Hwy. 54 west bound.

I know. I know. Businesses along that stretch of road will howl bloody murder. This is why we need bold council members who can do the right thing instead of looking out for reelection.

Several years ago this was done to a two-mile stretch of road in Atlanta. The businesses howled bloody murder. But, after a short time those same businesses started to see an increase in business because traffic was finally moving and folks started coming through the area where previously they would avoid it.

Here’s what should be done with the $9 million:

Spend $1 million on getting rid of several of the left turn lane fiascos like the one at Commerce Drive. Folks can easily enter that shopping center if eastbound on Hwy. 54 by entering at the right-in turn 500 feet north of the 54-74 intersection. That’s why it’s there. Make drivers use it as intended.

This gives the bonus of extending the left turn from westbound Hwy. 54 to southbound Hwy. 74 which backs up into the left through lane of Hwy. 54. Folks coming out of Commerce Drive wanting to go left onto Hwy. 54 will just have to “go around.” It’s either that or watch the stupidity of “left-in/left-outs” at that intersection during rush hour. Again, I see it. You see it. How obvious does it have to be?

Spend some more of that first $1 million making other changes along Hwy. 54 westbound. Prohibit left turns along that stretch of Hwy. 54 anywhere during rush hour. Of course, city streets such as Huddleston, Planterra and MacDuff must be given lefts, but make them short enough during rush hour so westbound traffic is not backed up to the 54-74 intersection.

Next, spend the other $8 million making Tyrone Road four lanes to Dogwood Trail. Then make Dogwood Trail four lanes and extend it over to Minix Road in Coweta, thereby creating a bypass around Peachtree City to the north just as everyone wants to see.

This is just one example of how to spend $9 million. It can be done. We just need better visionaries on City Council. I like to find ways to get the job done. Not find way to put up “road blocks.” Pun intended.

Eric Imker
Peachtree City, Ga.
[Imker is a former Peachtree City Council member.]

2 COMMENTS

  1. I’m in full agreement with Mr. Imker and RWM.

    The various suggestions to improve the throughput of 54/74 will never work until the challenges with the 54 West “Red Light District” are resolved. PTC and GaDOT are making reasonable suggestions to improve flow and safety on 74 North and 54 East. Why are they not willing to make similar common sense adjustments to improve 54 West?

    Common sense would indicate that the best way to increase flow through a funnel is to enlarge the bottom of the funnel, not the top.

  2. Right on Eric. As noted the diverging diamond design is a great solution for high-volume traffic that is moving. That of course means either no traffic lights within 1000 yards of the intersection or express lanes coming out of the intersections with carefully coordinated and synchronized lights. Since no one seems capable of synchronization – just go with plan A which is eliminate the lights and the left turns.

    And if we are smart enough to do that first before pulling the trigger on the $9million solution, we will probably learn that traffic flow improves consideably – perhaps enough to not need the intersection fix.

    In fact eliminating left turns completely on 54 would work even better. Hilton Head is gradually doing that – eliminating left turns and creating safe, visible and user-friendly U-turns. Works fine and it takes drivers about 2 days to adapt.