Thursday, August 12, 2010

Could Dunwoody become the City of Roundabouts? One resident thinks so and he wants your thoughts on the subject.

Dunwoody resident, Mr. Joe Seconder floated an idea past me about installing roundabouts at some of the more congested intersections as well as closing down a part of Jett Ferry to create a public park.  Since we as a city are about to start our Master Transportation Planning process, now is an ideal time to discuss his and other "out of the box" ideas to improve traffic flow.  Take a look at his vision and please feel free to comment, both positive or negative as he would like to read your honest opinions of his ideas.  I will reserve judgment except to say that if Jett Ferry was closed where shown, I bet the residents on Saffron Drive south of Mt. Vernon would be very unhappy with the new traffic volume. 

What transportation improvements can you envision?  Go ahead and let us know.
Jett Ferry-Mt Vernon-Dwy Club Roadwork Redesign


Kcaj said...

Regarding Jett Ferry onto Mt. Vernon, could either sensors be placed on Jett Ferry or a right-turn turn lane be added to alleviate the loooooong wait whenever a left turning car blocks the intersection? Just my .02.


Chip said...

Roundabouts are good ideas for low-volume intersections, and those that are no wider than two lanes, especially where the traffic patterns are biased in one or two directions. Womack and Tilly Mill and Peeler, N.Peachtree, and Tilly Mill would be a good idea. Traffic into and exiting GPC dominate those intersections during peak hours, and they travel almost uniformly in the same directions.

Chamblee Dunwoody and Mt. Vernon would not be a good idea. The traffic volumes are two closely matched, and the roundabout would simply "choke" during peak periods.

I've given some thought to the Jett Ferry/Mt.Vernon/Dunwoody Club area, too, including the awkward 4-way intersection at the Chevron station and the traffic light at Mt. Vernon.

I'd rotate Mr. Seconder's park idea to the East. If Jett Ferry were realigned with N.P'tree by demolishing the old Ace Hardware Building and moving the traffic light to that intersection, we could eliminate the traffic light at Saffron DRive be abandoning the short section of Dunwoody Club past the Kroger entrances. This way, the residents of Saffron Drive wouldn't have a problem, the people Northbound on N.Peachtree would have protection when making a right or left turn onto Mt. Vernon, and most of the small segment of Dunwoody Club between Jett Ferry and Mt.Vernon/Saffron Drive could become the public park.

The abandoned Jett Ferry R.O.W. could be "swapped" for the Ace Property, and the whole strip center reworked for better pedestrian and automobile access.


Anonymous said...

I applaud Joe's effort. While I may not like the use of roundabouts in all of those locations or may not agree with his other ideas, I applaud his out-of-the-norm thinking. That creativity is what it will take to improve our street traffic flow.

We also have to think about how we can connect more streets for better through traffic, plus improve our major intersections. One example is Vanderlyn Drive. It dead ends at what appears on a map to be the back side of MJCC. Is it possible to connect Vanderlyn Drive to Tilly Mill either directly or by linking to a Lake Springs residential street that already connects to Tilly Mill? This would improve the flow and accessibility between Tilly Mill and Vermack and help out with the Womack Road and Mt. Vernon Road congestion.

Lastly, does it help us to consider one-way streets in areas that could be looped? When I look at a map and see Womack, Peeler, Peachford, N. Shallowford, and N. Peachtree, I see potential for one-way loops in that area. A one-way street gives us two lanes to carry peak traffic without any road widening, but we may have to tweak where streets connect to truly make a loop of one-ways.

Anonymous said...

I like Chip's idea of realigning Jett Ferry to meet N. Peachtree at one intersection. In addition to being a intersection improvement at Mt. Vernon, it also results in connectivity of two existing streets to help with traffic flow in and around Dunwoody.

Cerebration said...

I love roundabouts. We had no trouble navigating them in Scotland - even with the added stress of driving on the wrong side of the road!

I've often thought a very good place for a roundabout would be at the corner of Tilly Mill and N. Peachtree. There's an empty lot there at the corner that the city could buy to use. That could improve traffic flow for all of the schools in the area in the morning if we could keep things moving. Roundabouts do that. Also, there are fewer accidents iin roundabouts and pedestrian stop-overs can be added in the middle for pedestrian safety.

Perhaps Perimeter College could "partner" on this since they cause a lot of the left turn morning congestion there. Say, how about another one just up the street at Tilly Mill and Womack?

Anonymous said...

While generally I support the idea of no widened streets (adding a turn lane is NOT considered a widening in my book), I do support the widening of the short segment on Mt. Vernon between Abernathy and Ashford-Dunwoody. It makes no sense to go from 4 lanes to 2 lanes and back to 4 lanes. Connect the two 4-lane segments. It would help the bottlenecks at that gateway into Dunwoody.

Pattie Baker said...

I have seen many ideas from Joe over the last year or so and I consistently applaud his highlighting of Best Practices from other cities and countries, such as he does here with Roundabouts.

I would love to see the research and consideration of Best Practices be a standard operating procedure when we are discussing issues at City Hall. Let's learn from other cities more often, both what works and what doesn't, specifically in relation to our upcoming plans for transportation, parks and green space, and economic development.

GaryRayBetz said...

My only issue with "roundabouts" is that when I used to have to drive around Mexico City, I would find myself constrained to the inner lane and it would take me about a freaking hour to navigate my way out of the circle, and by that time I was so dizzy that my participation in a happy hour was no longer necessary.

John Heneghan said...

I received a number of comments via e-mail and thought I would post them here in the comments section.

Great job on the presentation. I've always felt roundabouts would be a great addition to the city. It keeps the flow of traffic moving and is more sightly on the eyes. I had originally thought about a round about at Chamblee Dunwoody and Mt. Vernon as a gateway (flowers beds, sign etc) of sorts into the city.

I like the linear park concept and feel its a concept that could be looked at for various areas in conjunction with other development ideas. Dunwoody Village could benefit from park space and perhaps there are opportunities to incorporate the linear with other master planning concepts (pedestrian areas, outdoor dining, mixed use etc) concept there as well. To reiterate....great job on the presentation.


In response to your comments about Mr Seconder's roundabout idea, I would like to say that as attractive as those are visually, I'm a little concerned that the yielding and merging necessary in getting in and out of the circle could pose a traffic hazard. Even at the Target shopping center where a modified roundabout is employed, there are frequent close calls when drivers don't know for sure who has the right- of -way. I believe they are more pretty than practical, at least here in Dunwoody. I believe our money can be better spent on other ways to relieve traffic congestion. Thank you for your attention to this matter.


Mr. Seconder has done well with this presentation. Needless to say, Dunwoody does need to upgrade controls on traffic flow if we are to continue the "Small town" image that has been developed over the years and we persist in limiting our main streets to only two lanes. Congestion at many pressure points will only increase in the upcoming years. Mount Vernon Road is pummeled daily by the cut through traffic and, eventually, something must be done.

My strongest feelings about a roundabout location would be for the North Peachtree /Tilly Mill/Peeler intersection. With the increase in students at Perimeter College, plus the middle school, high school and grade school addition to the daily Gwinnett cut through traffic, the density at that intersection becomes extremely heavy most of the day, and unbearable when the college changes classes. Peeler road is a stumbling block and will have to be addressed to make this location more viable for the roundabout. This is a good start to the traffic flow problem. Continue the brain-picking, and good luck.


I like the idea of roundabouts. It would speed things up at intersections while slowing down the through traffic. It is attractive and would add character to our city. I hope it is given serious consideration.


John...a number of years ago our Rotary Club had a speaker who envisioned round-abouts everywhere...saving gas, cutting congestion...the only thing about his position that I wondered about was the capital investment required to re-do existing intersections...I think there probably is a lot of verifiable research on this subject, and in my view it is an idea worthy of consideration in Dunwoody


I like Joe's thinking on roundabouts. There was one installed in the Branches subdivision a few years back, and I think it has worked out rather well.

Here is another one, and I've thought about this one forever. Closing Barlclay between North Peachtree and the driveway just before the fire station. I've taken that road a few times and have never encountered anyone on it at the same time. It would allow for connecting Brook Run Park with the middle school with just green space. I don't think it would seriously effect fire trucks from getting to north Peachtree, as they can go around the school with little lost time.

SDOC Publishing Internet Solutions said...

Couple of questions after looking at Mr. Seconder's recommendation:

1) How would drivers north of Dunwoody Club Drive get to businesses (for work or shopping) in Williamsburg? Use the proposed roundabout to go to Mt Vernon and then to that entrance with the "left turn lane"? How about the shopping center w/the vet, etc? Making drivers take the long way around will lead to new problems to replace the old.

2) How about traffic flow within the Williamsburg and other parking lots as vehicles try to exit? Bottlenecks inside of parking areas aren't better than bottlenecks on the roads. Egress seems to be cut off which will be a major issue since you have 4 establishments along Jett Ferry with drive-throughs, as well as a pizza delivery place. Can the entrance to Williamsburg on Mt Vernon carry that traffic load? (Make thet 5 establishments - the bank has a drive-thru ATM.) Ditto the shopping center w/ the vet & Granny Smith's.

3) How would the roundabouts affect MARTA routes? We want mass transit, right? Has MARTA been consulted (or will they be)? Let's not give them a reason to pull more routes. The City isn't going to create its own transit system.

4a) All Saints church is just south of the map where the plan is shown. Major traffic area on Sundays and major church holidays. It's already a big issue and the church has cops directing traffic at peak times. How will the church be affected by this type of plan and how can that impact be mitigated? (It's a given that the church isn't going anywhere and neither are the parishioners. They're there to stay.)

4b) All Saints has a preschool in the back of its property. No cops during carpool hours and egress from the church property often depends on the kindness of drivers on Mt Vernon letting someone out. How will that be affected?

I like the idea of streamlining traffic flow but I'm concerned that this proposal may exchange one bottleneck for another around those shopping centers and the church. But IMHO, definitely worth doing a formal, complete impact study, given the practicalities of accessing all the facilities in the area.

John Heneghan said...

A few more comments hit my inbox and I figured I would post as I did before.

St. Simon's Island put in two roundabouts over the strong protest of the citizens.

After several months they seem to be working well and Island residents like them. They scare the bejabbers out of me (whose turn is it anyway????) but there are surprisingly few accidents. It looks like Joe has put a lot of thought and time into this and the planning structure looks good to me. It seems to allow for plenty of research and discussion before anything is done. However. I think the local opposition will be fierce.


This is a very poor idea. Uses a lot of land, confuses drivers and frustrates traffic in general. Look in new jersey and other northern states that have tried it. It is not for roads with any kind of traffic.


They put a roundabout in at St. Simons. I will say there no longer is a long wait at that intersection. However, everyone is terrified they're going to get hit as they bravely enter the circle as it seems no one really knows when they should jump in. Could be very interesting with the volume of traffic here in Dunwoody.


I do think we need those roundabouts, very European, too. We really do need to give old Dunwoody a shot in the arm and liven her up. It is so boring and dated looking in the village area. We need to Decaturize it!

John Heneghan said...

It appears that a roundabout is already scheduled for the Emory Village area.

Open+Transparent said...

Check out the roundabout near Emory University at N. Decatur Rd. & Lullwater Rd (the road made famous by the "Driving Miss Daisy" film).

It works, and it works well. That is an extremely heavily traveled corridor, with not just traffic to Emory, its hospitals, and th CDCD, but it's a major cut through route to midtown Atlanta in the mornings.

It works so well, Emory and the county are building another a few blocks away at North decatur and Clifton, the former main entrance to the university.

N. Decatur & Lullwayer is not just busy with vehicular traffic, Lullwater is one of the busiest walking/running routes in metro Atlanta. The roundabout has decreased many of the traffic accidents as N. Decatur curves severely in that area, but just as importantly, it has made it much, much safer for pedestrians, runners and cyclists.

Before you make up your mind on roundabout, go down to North decatur and Lullwater, and drive it in person, and park and walk it in person too.

Joe Seconder said...

FYI. City of Roswell, GA information on Roundabouts link below. They are installing their first one at the intersection of Grimes Bridge Road and Norcross Street/Warsaw Road.

Joe Seconder said...

Cobb County is installing a roundabout at Lower Roswell / Timber Ridge / Willeo:

This project is estimated to be let to construction in Summer 2011.

Joe Seconder said...

This is a super great educational video from GDOT. I encourage each of you to please consider spending the 10 minutes to watch this.