By John Schaffner
Two transportation-related issues — the proposed new GA 400/I-85 interchange and preparing Wieuca Road for the new Sarah Smith School opening in January — commanded much attention at the Oct. 8 meeting of the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods.
North Buckhead Civic Association President Gordon Certain and BCN President Jim King said they had heard that the GA 400/I-85 interchange plans had been removed by the Atlanta Regional Commission from the Transportation Improvement Plan and would not be funded.
This caused quite a stir among BCN members, since the organization considers that interchange project to be one of the most important transportation issues in the region.
However, after the meeting was over and following further investigation, it became clear that the interchange project is still part of the longer-term Regional Transportation Plan. What had been removed by ARC from the Transportation Improvement Plan was a project to add a lane from northbound I-85 to GA 400. That project was considered unnecessary.
According to ARC communications person Jim Jaquish there was not sufficient funding for the 400/I-85 ramps project in the near term for the TIP,n which deals with projects in the first six years of the regional plan. Jaquish confirmed that the project is in the RTP.
Public comments are being solicited by the ARC through October by email, mail or at public hearings. There is an ARC public hearing scheduled for Oct. 28.
“We could advocate for inclusion of the GA 400/I-85 ramps into the TIP,” Certain said in an email to BCN members. “We could also advocate for the use of GA 400 [toll] funds to complete the interchange.”
King said the fact that the GA 400/I-85 ramps project is not in the TIP “was unacceptable.”
At the Oct. 8 BCN meeting, Certain said his association had conducted an 18-question Internet poll related to the Wieuca Road change in speed limit, sidewalks, crosswalks and other traffic calming measures associated with the January opening of the new Sarah Smith School.
Respondents favored sidewalks on both sides of Wieuca, new traffic signals, and the like.
Certain said he has turned the poll results over to Dist. 7 Atlanta City Council member Howard Shook with hopes he will be able to get the city moving on some of the requested projects. To date, Certain told the group, “The city has not hit a lick on this.”