Road widening, re-striping and bike lanes are coming to a number of Buckhead’s busiest streets. Jim Durrett, executive director of the Buckhead Community Improvement District (CID), gave an update to the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods at it’s March 12 meeting.
The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is working on the widening of Piedmont Road north of the Buckhead Loop to Habersham Drive. The widening will create a continuous center left turn lane from Habersham to the signal intersection at Piedmont Center. “This will get turning vehicles out of the travel lanes and free up the bottleneck there, especially in the afternoon,” Durrett said. “Utility relocation is ma mess right now, but the work is scheduled to be finished late summer.”
The CID is also working with the city of Atlanta on re-striping West Paces Ferry between Slaton Drive and Peachtree Road. Durrett said the re-striping by the city had caused confusion and the plan it take it back to the way it was before with two travel lanes in each direction and a two-way left turn lane. There will also be a mid-block crossing at Whole Foods to the Buckhead Plaza 1 building. The crossing will have a pedestrian refuge at the center and rapid flashing beacon to warn motorists of people in the crosswalk, similar to the one at the Marta station on 10th Street in Midtown. Durrett said the westbound bike would be removed and improvements made to the eastbound bike lane. He said there wold also be improvements to help drivers turning right off West Paces to get them out of the thru-traffic lane more quickly.
Re-striping is also planned for the repaved portions of East Paces Ferry and Pharr Roads between Peachtree and Piedmont Roads. Durrett said the plan for Pharr is to put a center left turn lane all the way from Peachtree to Piedmont and create bike lanes. He said CID was also working the U.S. Post Office to work on their internal parking and circulation to make it easier to get in and out of the Pharr Road branch.
Durrett said GDOT is close to approving plans for improvements to Peachtree Road from Maple Drive to Shadowlawn Drive through Buckhead Village. “You’ll see a new Peachtree along that stretch in 2017,” he commented. Land acquisition will be necessary and Durrett said GDOT has also narrowed down plans for the traffic configuration. One plan will have two lanes in each direction with a center turn lane and bike lanes on each side. The other is an alternating two and three lanes of traffic, probably switching at West and East Wesley. “GDOT is still refining these plans and there will be meetings where the plans will be shown and to get public feedback,” Durrett said.
An attendee of the meeting questioned why more bike lanes were needed, and Durrett said drivers and cyclists were going to have to learn to share the road. “We are collectively adolescent when it comes to sharing the road and how streets are used,” he stated. “Cyclists need to learn to behave, people who drive cars need to learn to behave. Bikes as a mode of transportation are here to stay and growing.”