Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Is Dunwoody ready for and want a center turn lane down all Mt. Vernon from Chamblee Dunwoody to Jett Ferry?

The Dunwoody City Council has reviewed plans for Mt. Vernon and Vermack looking for the best solution to improve that intersection and in doing so had an option to extend the center turn lane to the West to Vernon Oaks.  As this improvement was part of the long term transportation plan, recommended by staff and as there were little objections from the neighbors or community, the Council approved the measure to design that possible layout. 

Affected members of the community are now raising questions, the main one being "Is the Dunwoody Community aware that by Council adding the additional couple hundred feet of paving, it is possibly setting the long term policy of installing of a center lane down all Mt. Vernon from Chamblee Dunwoody to Jett Ferry".   Is this what Dunwoody really wants and needs?

With issues now being raised and numerous meetings taking place between Council, Staff and the affected Community Members, it is my belief that this project may need a reaffirmation or wider vetting to the Community that the Center turn lane down all of Mt. Vernon is truly the preferred look and feel of our main thoroughfare vs just left land turn lanes installed where specifically needed?

The plans currently being drawn up can also be revised to cut back the added turn lane yet could still include the sidewalks and bike lane spacing as construction plans have not yet been contemplated.

The residents directly affected by this first Mt. Vernon road widening understand the need for improvement to the intersection and could accept the proposed plan if they knew that this is what the community really wanted, but if for some reason their section of road is widened (front yards and buffers reduced) but later no one else's is, than they would have paid the price that no one else would be willing to pay.

On behalf of these several residents, a wider community discussion should be had reaffirming the long term direction of where we intend to go.

Please discuss among yourselves, with your neighbors and with the Mayor & members of the City Council as I want to make sure that that this item is fully vetted well in advance of any next vote. 





1 comment:

KWeaver said...

While I fully agree that this center turn lane is in the Comprehensive Transportation Plan, is it fair for the City to take a project that began as a means to improve a horribly operated intersection and turn it into an opportunity to piggyback another project (the Dunwoody Village to Jett Ferry center lane) at the same time, even though currently there is no traffic data to truly justify the need for this lane at all? How many citizens with homes along this road even know about this center turn lane being in the Comprehensive Transportation Plan, a document having several hundred pages of descriptions, maps, drawings, etc. The sheer volume of information it contains is overwhelming. Is the Comprehensive Transportation Plan the Holy Grail of the future of Dunwoody logistics? I sure hope not because there are many projects in there that are questionable at best.

Returning to the proposed center lane as illustrated in this rendering, I don’t support it because quite frankly I don’t think it will help the flow of traffic and I feel it will lead to accidents from people using it as a passing lane or not understanding it’s intent. Also, if the Council supports the construction of this center lane extension coming off of the Vermack intersection now, at what point will the rest of the project be constructed? Will this portion be done now and then it’s years before the rest of the center lane is constructed? Will people living further East and West on Mt. Vernon Road see what is coming and fight it causing the City to decide they won’t continue it after spending $200,000 beyond the cost to repair just the intersection to begin this center lane construction? Where will that leave homeowners already impacted by the extension seen in this drawing?

Last, I want to say that I feel like the sidewalks, and to a certain degree, bike lanes, are a welcome addition to the city and this road, though I tend to be more favorable toward the sidewalks. As a casual bike rider, even if bike lanes existed on Mt. Vernon Road, the chances of my family using them given the fact that this is a heavily traveled thoroughfare that doubles as a truck route is slim to none. I’d rather see bike lanes on the less traveled East/West route of Womack, but that is just me. Given the choice, I would chose sidewalks on both sides of Mt. Vernon Road, no center lane, and no bike lane (on Mt. Vernon), but above all else, I think the center (3rd) lane addition to Mt. Vernon Road, at this juncture, is a complete waste of taxpayer money that should be spent elsewhere.