By C. Julia Nelson
A revitalized gateway is on the radar for the Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) in Sandy Springs, but residents are concerned that trying to rework other nodes along Roswell Road at I-285 and Glenridge Drive is premature.
According to its web site, www.atlantaregional.com, the goal of the Atlanta Regional Commission’s (ARC) LCI program is to “help local governments devise strategies that reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality by better connecting homes, shops and offices, enhancing streetscapes and pedestrian amenities and improving access to transit options.”
In Sandy Springs, transportation planner Mark Moore, is working with Sizemore Group and Pond & Company, both planning and architectural firms, to develop a proposal for ARC to gain funding for transportation improvement projects in the amount of $100,000 with a $25,000 city match.
During a final LCI community meeting Feb. 25 at Holy Spirit Preparatory School, about 40 residents along with transportation planners and engineers reviewed five potential traffic nodes for improvement in the city, but narrowed the choices to two.
Sizemore architect Bill de St. Aubin encouraged the small but passionate crowd to focus one of the two efforts north of Meadowbrook and Wieuca roads along Roswell Road to create a visually appealing gateway into the city.
“It would be nice to have a green space when you first come in (to Sandy Springs),” de St. Aubin said of the gateway proposal.
The proposal includes transitional mixed-use zoning, or a transect, featuring some commercial and retail buildings closer to Roswell, and then townhomes followed by single family residences and a pedestrian alley.
The other proposal, which also met residential approval, is near Belle Isle Road at the Fountain Oaks plaza. This option includes a pedestrian-only link along Highbrook Road to Roswell Road and streetscape improvements such as sidewalks, light posts and benches as well as some two-story retail in front of Kroger along Roswell.
“We’re trying to make connections that will help alleviate some of the traffic but at the same we’re trying to make sure it’s not dangerous on residential roads,” de St. Aubin said.
Both proposals feature traffic calming areas, but how that would be done is yet undetermined. This could mean speed humps, mid-block crossings or additional signage. Dan Cohen, Pond & Company director of planning said timing traffic signals along Roswell might prove useful for traffic calming efforts.
“It’s the flow that doesn’t work because of the signal timing,” Cohen said.
Several residents opposed proposed transportation and land use improvements at three other nodes. Located at Roswell Road and I-285, at Glendridge Drive and Roswell and along Glenridge Drive south of I-285, the three nodes posed concerns from the community members and particularly, the suggestion of placing a tunnel under I-285 on either side of Roswell met with clear opposition and suggestions for further studies.
“The whole area north of Prado should not be part of the (LCI) study,” Sandy Springs resident Bruce Capps said.
“There seem to be a lot of hot button areas that need further review,” Mark Sampl, also of Sandy Springs, said.
Moore said all the proposals will align with the Comprehensive Transportation Plan, which is set to go before council for approval in March.
The Sandy Springs Planning Commission will consider a final LCI draft proposal April 17. City Council will visit the issue in May.