The city of Dunwoody is considering building a roundabout at the busy intersection of Vermack and Womack roads to ease traffic, but many neighbors aren’t happy about it.
At a public meeting at Dunwoody High School Sept. 20, Dunwoody staff members and traffic engineers answered questions about the proposed roundabout, using maps and diagrams displayed on large poster boards.
City officials say by replacing the four-way stop now at the intersection with a roundabout, traffic will flow better, there will be fewer accidents and cars will slow down as they pass through.
But many of the people in attendance didn’t like the idea.
Joe Hirsch, who lives near the intersection, collected signatures for a petition to the roundabout. He believes the roundabout would only encourage more traffic through the neighborhood.
“Most of the neighbors I’ve spoken to directly around the stop signs prefer it as is,” Hirsch said. “We’re happy to have some traffic in our neighborhood. We’re not complaining. Who is?”
He said homeowners around the intersection likely won’t freely give the city the right-of-way property needed to complete the project. “If they proceed, they will be facing an eminent domain fight,” Hirsch said. “If the city wants to save money it should just cut its losses now.”
Suneel Edupuganti said as now proposed, the roundabout would block the driveway of his Vermack Road home.
“I don’t even know how I can make a legal left turn into my home,” Edupuganti said.
He said he doesn’t understand why the traffic, caused mostly by Dunwoody High School in the mornings and evenings, is such a problem.
“It’s less than two hours a day max of a nine-month-a-year issue,” Edupuganti said.
But city officials say that if nothing is done, traffic will only increase. Another alternative, installing a traffic signal, would be more expensive and have a greater impact on adjacent properties.
Joe Seconder, a Dunwoody resident who champions improvements for cyclists and pedestrians, said a roundabout would calm traffic and make the intersection safer.
“These things are efficient,” he said. “It’s much faster than a traffic light.”
But Cheryl Summers, who lives on Tilly Mill Road, believes a roundabout could invite more commuters through Dunwoody.
“The more people find out it’s easy to get through Dunwoody this way, the more cut through traffic we’re going to have from Gwinnett,” Summers said.
She said she already deals with traffic from commuters in her neighborhood and doesn’t want to see it encouraged at this intersection.
“Having more traffic come through my community is not making me real happy,” she said. “We feel like the city is listening more to their traffic consultants than to the people who live here and don’t want it.”