By Amy Wenk
amywenk@reporternewspapers.net

A proposal to widen Hammond Drive from Roswell to Barfield roads and install a multi-use trail along the Morgan Falls power easements are two Sandy Springs projects that top a new list of transportation improvements in north Fulton County.

The list, called the North Fulton Comprehensive Transportation Plan, is the result of more than a year of community meetings and research in Sandy Springs, Johns Creek, Mountain Park, Roswell, Alpharetta and Milton.

The meetings were part of an effort by the Atlanta Regional Commission and the cities to develop a cohesive transportation plan for the area.

“This is about regionally significant, cross-jurisdictional projects,” said Ed Ellis, project manager with Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc., who presented the list to Sandy Springs City Council on Aug. 17.

The council should consider a final plan in September.

“No funding is actually allocated to the projects,” said Regan Hammond, principal planner for the Atlanta Regional Commission.

The transportation plan was created as an effort to help the cities as they pursue federal funds to pay for the projects.

“We are going to try to make you look good,” Ellis told the council. “This is not about the number of lanes or the specific location of a project … We are hopefully helping you compete for money.”

Some residents are upset that a project to widen Hammond Drive is on the list.

“Frankly, I was dismayed and surprised,” said resident Dick Farmer who attended an Aug. 17 meeting and other meetings to draft the transportation plan. At a May meeting, he said, residents generally supported bike paths and transit options but opposed the widening of Hammond Drive.

Farmer said widening the two-lane portion of Hammond Drive would be “a waste of taxpayer money” and would only drive more traffic into downtown Sandy Springs. He said drivers use Hammond Drive as a cut through between DeKalb and Cobb counties.

Another resident, John Sikes, made similar remarks about the proposal to widen Hammond Drive. “I travel Hammond almost daily,” said Sikes, a 13-year resident of Sandy Springs who lives across from Arlington Cemetery on Mitchell Road off Hammond Drive. “I think that it is OK as it is.”

Sandy Springs City Council agreed with most projects on the list but questioned why two river crossings were included as projects.

For more information on the transportation plan, visit www.atlantaregional.com/nfctp.

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Transportation projects proposed for Sandy Springs

Tier One: These projects are likely to be funded when federal money becomes available:
  • Widen Hammond Drive from Roswell to Barfield roads.
  • Install a multi-use trail in the Morgan Falls power easements.
Tier Two: These projects are likely to be funded if a 1 percent sales tax is approved by taxpayers in 2012:
  • Install a bike and pedestrian route that runs parallel to Roswell Road.
  • Improve the interchange of Ga. 400 and Northridge Road.
  • Improve the bridge and intersection at Spalding Drive and Winters Chapel Road.
  • Improve the interchange of I-285 and Riverside Drive.
Tier Three: Other projects that could be considered if funding is available:
  • Install two river crossings.
  • Improve Roswell Road access management