New roads, lanes and multiuse paths are proposed in Brookhaven’s Ashford-Dunwoody Road improvement concepts presented at a Sept. 12 open house at Marist School. The biggest change: two new roads looping behind grocery stores to bypass the tangled Johnson Ferry Road intersection.

A major north-south route through the city, Ashford-Dunwoody Road is a largely two-lane road often overwhelmed by traffic from the hotels, schools and parks that it serves. Last year, the City Council hired Gresham, Smith and Partners for a $125,000 to come up with a “corridor vision” to improve the street.

Residents examine the Ashford-Dunwoody Road corridor improvement proposals during the Sept. 12 open house at Marist School. (Photo John Ruch)

More than 100 people attended a first round of public input meetings in March. Dozens attended the Sept. 12 open house to see the first draft of the planners’ concepts, which likely will be posted on the city’s website later this week, according to Public Works Director Richard Meehan. A final draft based on public feedback will be presented at another meeting, likely before year’s end, when the city wants to have a plan on the books.

Reaction to the proposed changes appeared to be a mix of interest and anxiety, and depended on the various ideas for various sections of the 3-mile-long street.

“It may help traffic, but the more you improve that, the more it encourages people to cut through my neighborhood,” said a woman who lives on West Nancy Creek Drive and declined to have her name published.

The vision for the overall street is adding sidewalks and multiuse paths, as well as grassy medians in some spots. Much of the work could be done within existing right-of-way, though that can still mean cutting down trees and taking a strip of what many residents now use as their front yards.

Bicycling advocate Joe Seconder said the lane and buffer widths could be tweaked to provide dedicated bike paths. “I prefer to have bikes and pedestrians separated,” he said. “But I appreciate they’re considering something.”

The vision also includes fixes for six intersections and the Montgomery Elementary School area. The biggest proposed change targets one of the street’s biggest problems: the unusual intersection with Johnson Ferry, which is shaped like an elongated X and contains sharp turns and lane changes.

A planner discusses new roads, shown as green lines, proposed for the Ashford-Dunwoody/Johnson Ferry roads intersection. The Cambridge Square Kroger is at top and the Publix is at the bottom. (Photo John Ruch)

The concept is to let most north-south traffic circumvent the intersection completely by creating new roads behind the Publix grocery store and the Cambridge Square shopping center, where Kroger is the anchor store. The existing intersection would remain for shopping access and east-west traffic.

At Cambridge Square, an existing rear driveway would be turned into a road aligned with Woods Drive, which is a driveway into Blackburn Park, with a signalized intersection. At Publix, an existing partial driveway would become a full cut-through road aligned with Blair Circle. The new roads could be one-way or two-way and might have appropriate turn lanes.

“I think I would support both of those if they were two-way,” one resident said.

Some other proposed changes:

Perimeter Summit Parkway/Oak Drive: Add second northbound and southbound through lanes; lengthen the northbound left-turn lane; extend the southbound right-turn lane to Ashford Green; adjust traffic signal timing.

Montgomery Elementary: Traffic signal upgrade; add a northbound right-turn lane; “modify” school pick-up/drop-off traffic; improve pedestrian crossings.

West Nancy Creek Drive: Add eastbound and westbound left-turn lanes; adjust signal timing.

Marist School/Harts Mill Road: Lengthen westbound right-turn lane onto Harts Mill; adjust signal timing.

Windsor Parkway: Add northbound left-turn lane; add southbound and eastbound right-turn lanes; add actuated traffic signal; consider a “potential roundabout”; add left-turn lane at St. Martin’s Episcopal School.

Peachtree Road: Lengthen southbound right-turn lane to the Sanctuary at Oglethorpe Apartments; convert the southbound right-turn lane to free-flow; add a southbound right-turn lane; improve turning radius for the northeast corner.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.

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