Councilman Terry Nall asked members of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association for their support to help resuscitate a plan to build a traffic circle at the intersection of Vermack and Womack roads.
At the DHA’s monthly board meeting Nov. 4, Nall expressed his frustration over a recent City Council vote to remove funding in next year’s budget for a roundabout at the busy intersection near Dunwoody High School, Dunwoody Elementary School, and Georgia Perimeter College.
On Oct. 29, a group of residents came to the City Council’s meeting dressed in red and holding signs to show their opposition to building a roundabout at Womack and Vermack. During the public comment portion of the meeting, they said the roundabout would increase the volume of commuter traffic in their neighborhood and it would be less safe for the kids who walk to school, among other things.
In response to the outcry, council voted 4-3 to remove funding for the project from the city’s 2013 budget.
Nall told the DHA he felt that the council showed they are willing to bend to small groups of vocal opponents when it comes to road projects.
“I think we have a lack of backbone here,” Nall said.
He asked for the DHA to take a stand in favor of letting the design process for the roundabout continue.
“It’s going to come back to haunt us at Tilly Mill if we don’t fix this,” Nall said, referring to a proposed intersection improvement at the busy corner of Tilly Mill and North Peachtree Roads.
Several DHA members said they would like to see the roundabout have another chance.
Bob Lundsten said he would like to see the DHA take a stance on the intersection improvement.
“What council did on Monday night … I think was the least transparent, most egregious thing this council’s done in a really long time,” Lundsten said.
Bob Dallas said in almost all neighborhoods where traffic circles have been built, there has been initial community opposition because the concept is so foreign.
“They are new and it does take a learning curve,” Dallas said. “People will adapt.”
But State Sen. Fran Millar, R-Dunwoody, said he believes the community opposition is rooted in poor communication about the project from City Council and staff.
“This is bigger than Womack and Vermack. It’s a communication issue,” Millar said. “You guys didn’t do your homework. We can’t bail you out at this point.”
DHA President Bill Grossman said representatives of the organization plan to speak at the City Council’s Nov. 12 meeting to encourage the city to complete the design process for the traffic circle before making a final decision on the project.
“DHA has historically supported intersection improvements. We’ve found that citizen concerns identified during the design process can be accommodated in many cases and there is value in continuing the process until those concerns can be addressed,” Grossman said.