Ellyn Musser, left, and Don Houze, center, discuss the roundabout plan with project manager Ryan Trick of Jacobs.
Ellyn Musser, left, and Don Houze, center, discuss the roundabout plan with project manager Ryan Trick of Jacobs.

After looking over plans for a pair of traffic circles near their home in downtown Sandy Springs, John and Donna Bendik were pleased with what they saw.

“We’re excited about it,” Donna Bendik said. “It’s going to make [the intersection] look a lot better. Basically, it looks pretty horrible right now. If they do it right, it could be a real plus for the community.”

“It could be a big plus in the long run…,” John Bendik said. “It does have potential.”

“If it’s done correctly,” his wife said.

To see a drawing of the proposal: http://www.sandyspringsga.gov/home/showdocument?id=7426

The Bendiks were among about two dozen Sandy Springs residents who dropped by City Hall on April 2 to examine drawings for a proposed pair of roundabouts where Mount Vernon Highway and Johnson Ferry Road link up in the center of the city.

The roundabouts are planned near the triangular area created where those two busy streets meet Roswell Road. City officials plan to use the triangle for a public park at the edge of the planned City Center complex.

John and Donna Bendik check drawings and a computer animation showing how the proposed roundabouts would handle traffic.

Assistant City Manager Bryant Poole said the traffic circle design was determined to be the best of several options studied by the city’s engineers and presented to the public in several meetings. “This is the one moving forward,” he said.

Poole said the traffic improvements were expected to cost about $14 million. Project Manger Ryan Trick said work on the traffic circles could begin in the summer or fall of 2016.

During the public presentation of the roundabout plan, consultants from Jacobs, an engineering company, showed residents how the two traffic circles were expected to move cars, bicycles and pedestrians through the intersection.

“My first thought is that anything they can do to improve the Bermuda Triangle [there] ought to help,” resident Bruce MacLane said. “I really think this would work very well, as long as everybody is knowledgeable about how to use a traffic circle.”

Other residents also worried that some local drivers wouldn’t know how to navigate the traffic circles, especially during their first few trips through the intersection.

Still, they said something needed to be done to eliminate the daily snarls now seen in the area.

“Something needs to be imposed, but I don’t know that this will solve everything,” Ellyn Musser said. “It will solve some things… but I’m not too sure about the rest.”

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.