Brookhaven residents got a chance to look at the proposed plans for the Ashford-Dunwoody Road corridor Nov. 29 at an open house at City Hall.

Dozens or residents showed up at Brookhaven City Hall Nov. 29 to look over proposed recommendations for Ashford-Dunwoody Road. (Photo Dyana Bagby)

Some were pleased with the proposed changes intended to deal with traffic congestion along the busy thoroughfare while others were angered with plans that will cut into their front yards.

“I know a lot of people are excited and also a lot of people have questions and concerns, especially at the big intersections that call for big changes,” said Councilmember Linley Jones, who represents residents living along Ashford-Dunwoody Road.

Jones said the plans do not necessarily represent one project that will be completed at the same time and that there are discreet projects within the overall plans that can be done quicker because they are smaller and less complex. When any construction will begin remains unknown.

“Everything hinges on funding,” she said.

The City Council approved $100,000 in the 2017 budget for design and engineering of improvements along the three-mile stretch of Ashford-Dunwoody Road, said Public Works Director Richard Meehan.

The City Council is expected to hear a final report in January from consultants from Gresham, Smith and Partners, the firm awarded the $125,050 planning contract last October.

“A lot of people have expressed they like the overall, big picture concept, but it’s the details that have some people concerned,” Meehan said. “Right now we’re trying to settle on the big picture.”

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.

The plan calls for some short-term and long-term recommendations at the Ashford-Dunwoody Road and Johnson Ferry Road intersection, including extending the right lane northbound on Ashford-Dunwoody from the south of Publix to Johnson Ferry.

Ben Wilcox talks with Scott Shelton of Gresham, Smith and Partners about proposed changes to the Johnson Ferry Road and Ashford-Dunwoody Road intersection. (Photo Dyana Bagby)

Ben Wilcox, who lives in Cambridge Park, said he was pleased with the proposed redesign of the Ashford-Dunwoody and Johnson Ferry intersection, saying it was “favorable for the neighborhood.”

“It helps control traffic and reduce back up … and it will create a more community hub,” Wilcox said. “I really like how this [design] is aimed at managing traffic, but the side benefits favor the neighborhoods … and will help reduce cut-through traffic.”

Rachel Bartlone, who has lived on Ashford-Dunwoody Road between West Nancy Creek Drive and Brenton Way for two years, said she is infuriated with the changes proposed for her neighborhood. Other residents along the narrowest stretch of the road are also angered about proposed changes.

Plans for the intersection of Ashford-Dunwoody and West Nancy Creek include installing left turn lanes on eastbound and westbound West Nancy Creek Drive with left turn arrow signals and utilizing city-owned right-of-way to provide sidewalks, a landscape strip and a multi-use path.

Rachel Bartlone discusses the Ashford-Dunwoody Road corridor study with Erin Thoresen of Gresham, Smith and Partners. (Photo Dyana Bagby)

“This is a nightmare,” she said.

“We bought our home to be within walking distance from Montgomery Elementary … and now they want to take 36-feet of my front yard,” she said. The swath is part the city’s 50-feet of right-of-way, she acknowledged.

Bartlone said when she asked a consultant about the proposed plans and how it would affect her home, he told her that is why he “would not buy property on a busy street.”

“This has been an infuriating process. They [consultants and city officials] are not addressing any of the concerns of the citizens,” she said.

Bartlone said she fears her property values will decrease and that the proposed plans will only benefit commuters who use the road and not the people who live in Brookhaven.

“This is a busy thoroughfare for people who don’t live in Brookhaven and don’t pay taxes,” she said. “I don’t feel the residents want this to be a thoroughfare.”

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 up dozens of feet of what many residents now use as their front yards, including trees and shrubs that shield their homes from the business of the road.

Meehan said he understood the concerns of people living near West Nancy Creek Drive and Montgomery Elementary School, but said much of what they consider their front yards is actually right-of-way.

He said the city would replace any natural screens, such as trees, the residents have planted in the right-of-way to shield their homes from the noise of Ashford-Dunwoody Road.

“We want to work with the property owners … and a lot of what is proposed is contingent on funding,” he said. He said major work near Montgomery Elementary would likely not begin for another five to 10 years.

“Some people have said to do nothing. And that is always an option if that is what the City Council and the community wants,” Meehan said. “But I don’t think it’s what a majority of residents want. They want to see the corridor improved.”

Comments on the open house materials will be accepted through Dec. 14 at ADCorridorStudy@BrookhavenGA.gov.

Proposed changes at key intersections:

Peachtree Road at Ashford-Dunwoody Road. Click to enlarge.

Peachtree Road at Ashford-Dunwoody Road
1. Extend right turn lane on southbound Ashford-Dunwoody Road to Sanctuary at Oglethorpe
apartments.
2. Convert right turn lane from Ashford-Dunwoody Rd to southbound Peachtree Rd into a barrier separated free-flow lane, controlled by a right turn arrow signal with pedestrian activated push button to facilitate safe crossing across Ashford-Dunwoody Road.
3. Install a dedicated right turn lane on southbound Peachtree Rpad at Ashford-Dunwoody Road.
4. Increase turn radius in northeast corner of intersection, install a raised concrete island, and
provide space for bus shelter and waiting area.
5. Construct appropriate pedestrian and streetscape improvements.

Windsor Parkway at Ashford-Dunwoody Road. Click to enlarge.

Windsor Parkway at Ashford-Dunwoody Road
1. Install left turn lane able to accommodate approximately two vehicles on northbound Ashford-Dunwoody Road at the entrance to St. Martin’s Episcopal Church and School.
2. Install left turn lane able to accommodate approximately two vehicles on northbound Ashford-Dunwoody Road at Windsor Parkway.
3. Install right turn lane on eastbound Windsor Parkway at Ashford-Dunwoody Road.
4. Install traffic signal at the intersection of Windsor Parkway and Ashford-Dunwoody Road.
5. Consider the possibility of a standard, single-lane urban roundabout at the intersection to help calm traffic.

Short-term recommendations for Johnson Ferry Road at Ashford-Dunwoody Road

Short-term recommendations for Johnson Ferry Road at Ashford-Dunwoody Road. Click to enlarge.

1. Extend the right lane on northbound Ashford-Dunwoody Road from south of Publix to Johnson Ferry Road. Restripe existing lanes to create one longer dedicated left turn lane and one left/through/right lane. Adjust traffic signal timing and phasing accordingly. Install new striping and overhead signage as appropriate.
2. Relocate existing narrow median divider to center line to prevent left turns into Publix from
southbound Ashford-Dunwoody Road and separate northbound and southbound traffic.
3. Improve the existing mid-block pedestrian crossing near Kadleston Way to include a small
refuge island and pedestrian crossing signal.

Long-term recommendations for Johnson Ferry Road at Ashford-Dunwoody Road

Long-term recommendations for Johnson Ferry Road at Ashford-Dunwoody Road. Click to enlarge.

1. Realign Ashford-Dunwoody Road south of Kadleston Way between Publix and Peachtree Golf Club and tie Ashford-Dunwoody Road into Johnson Ferry Road at Blair Circle.
• Include one dedicated left turn lane on northbound Ashford-Dunwoody Road (to turn onto
westbound Johnson Ferry Rd) and one left/through/right turn lane.
• Convert Kadleston Way to a cul-de-sac, preserving pedestrian access to Ashford-Dunwoody Road.
2. Realign Johnson Ferry Road west of Waddeston Way to travel behind the existing shopping center and tie into Ashford-Dunwoody Road at Woods Drive (may be contingent upon redevelopment of shopping center).
• Install one left/through lane and two dedicated right turn lanes on eastbound Johnson Ferry Road (to turn onto southbound Ashford-Dunwoody Road) and install one left turn lane on northbound Ashford-Dunwoody Road (to turn onto westbound Johnson Ferry Road).
• Install a traffic signal at the new intersection at Woods Drive and remove the existing traffic signal at the Valero gas station.
3. Design and construct a planted median along the shared roadway and install directional median openings to allow left turns where needed, preserving access to businesses.

Marist School/Harts Mill Road at Ashford-Dunwoody Road

Marist School/Harts Mill Road at Ashford-Dunwoody Road. Click to enlarge.

1. Lengthen the northbound left turn lane on Ashford-Dunwoody Road at Harts Mill Road/Marist School by restriping the existing two-way left turn lane.
2. Work with Perimeter Traffic Operations Program (PTOP) to optimize signal timing and phasing.

West Nancy Creek at Ashford-Dunwoody Road. Click to enlarge.

West Nancy Creek Drive at Ashford-Dunwoody Road

1. Install left turn lanes on eastbound and westbound West Nancy Creek Drive with left turn arrow signals.
2. Work with Perimeter Traffic Operations Program (PTOP) to optimize signal timing and phasing.

Montgomery Elementary School at Ashford-Dunwoody Road

Montgomery Elementary School at Ashford-Dunwoody Road. Click to enlarge.

1. Upgrade traffic signal and pedestrian crossing at school exit and at pedestrian crossing at Chaucer Lane.
2. Install right turn lane on northbound Ashford-Dunwoody Rd at Montgomery Elementary School  driveway.
3. Work with DeKalb County Schools and Montgomery Elementary School officials to develop
plans for modifying patterns for pick-up and dropoff traffic. Identify possible opportunities to reduce queuing on Ashford-Dunwoody Road.
4. Work with Perimeter Traffic Operations Program (PTOP) to optimize timing/phasing of traffic signal at school exit.

Perimeter Summit Parkway/Oak Forest Drive at Ashford-Dunwoody Road

  1. Perimeter Summit Parkway/Oak Forest Road at Ashford-Dunwoody Road. Click to enlarge.

    1. Extend the right turn lane on southbound Ashford-Dunwoody Road to north of Ashford Green, creating two southbound through lanes and dedicated right turn lanes into Ashford Green and Perimeter Summit Parkway. Transition to one southbound lane south of the intersection at Perimeter Summit Parkway/Oak Forest
    Drive. Consider the use of a raised concrete island at Perimeter Summit Parkway to channelize right turns and overhead signage to reduce last-minute lane changes.
    2. Lengthen the left turn lane on northbound Ashford-Dunwoody Road approaching Perimeter Summit Parkway/Oak Forest Drive.
    3. Install second through lane on northbound Ashford-Dunwoody Road approaching Perimeter Summit Parkway/Oak Forest Drive.
    4. Work with Perimeter Traffic Operations Program (PTOP) to optimize signal timing/phasing.
    5. Design and construct a gateway feature in the southwest quadrant of the intersection at Perimeter Summit Parkway and Ashford-Dunwoody Road.

7 replies on “Brookhaven residents get look at proposed plans for Ashford-Dunwoody Road”

  1. The critical need is to improve the flow of traffic. Homeowners will be impacted but that is the price of growth and a vibrant city. Buying a house on A/D? What were you thinking?

  2. It’s silly to criticize homeowners who purchase homes on a main road. No one can imagine all the scenarios that can occur when one purchases a home. If buying a home on a main road is that fraught with risk, then the city or county should provide a large 1 page warning about doing so. The county/city obtains taxes from these homes throughout Brookhaven for many years and then tries to disregard them due to being on a main road. First of all, do no make the road overly wide – this will invite more cut through traffic and not solve the existing traffic issues. This has been proven over and over again. This will then invite more road widening. This will also put at risk the home values and tax revenues derived from homes on main road and 1 or 2 homes away from road widening since those homes will now be close to the main road. Second, you don’t need a median. Third, if you do this, then offer money to the homeowner or just buy their home. Although the city legally owns the right of way, this is a fact for all of our homes and none of us really think that the county/city will come into our neighborhood and exercise this type of control and take so much property. But a resolution is to just offer adequate compensation to homeowners – even if it is the right of way. We would all want this remedy if we were in this situation.

    But, road widening will not solve the traffic issues and result in losing the residential feel of the area. If you go to various areas of Sandy Springs and Buckhead, there are many neighborhoods with 2 lane roads that have resisted the widening and the neighborhoods have a lot of charm and have held their values. Mt Paran Rd is one example but there are many roads like this. And we all are able to get by just fine as is – we all get to our destinations and home as is. Maybe a solution is to have more fields built in nearby cities so that nearby residents don’t flood the streets to go to Murphy Candler and soccer fields. If Chamblee, Dunwoody, and Doraville actually have adequate athletic fields (soccer, lacrosse, baseball), then maybe residents from those areas would commute less to Brookhaven’s athletic facilities which would reduce traffic considerably. The entire area lacks adequate fields for many sports. Sandy Springs has 90,000 citizens and they have Morgan Falls for baseball but they really don’t have much of anything else. There is no large soccer complex there – they have the field at Windsor/Ptree but this is Buckhead Soccer and is on fringe of city – they need fields within city not on fringe. Dunwoody and Chamblee have practically no fields. Another solution is to stop approving such monstrosity projects in perimeter area. Just because it is the Perimeter doesn’t mean that we turn it into Manhattan and then ask our citizens to solve the road/traffic issues that were wrought by stupidly approving too many projects.

    1. It is the those living on the busy streets who are complaining, right? We have to stop making excuses for everyone in our society. Everyone is NOT a victim. Just look at all of the Snowflakes on our college campuses. Stop PC in it’s tracks!

  3. The City of Sandy Springs is gutting neighborhoods as fast as they can in favor of widening roads and high density housing. It is amazing how fast a quiet side street can become a main thoroughfare. A few years ago Abernathy was part of a neighborhood, before that a dirt road. Citizens must oppose developers and city councils interested only in short term solutions and creating long term problems

    1. Abernathy has been a major thoroughfare for decades. Anyone wanting to avoid traffic must go where there is NO traffic (like Montana).

      Of course, if you have a self-driving car, you will have a lot of free time to work, watch movies, tweet, etc.

  4. If abernathy was a thoroughfare for decades before it was widened, then this means that the traffic was bearable for decades before it was widened which means that it didn’t need to be widened. Mt paran is 2 lane with no effort to widen it. There are many other buckhead neighborhood streets that are two lane with no bike paths and the population aims to keep it this way. You definitely don’t need a median, four lanes, multi purpose path on AshDunw. But if approved, pay folks affected.

    1. Wider roads accommodate more traffic. And more traffic – each and every day – is what we have. Nobody has a way to stop development and growth. Especially not any politicians. The responsible thing for every city to do is to do whatever is possible to improve traffic flows. Did you notice that now, rather than call them bike lanes, they call them multi-purpose lanes. Many of our congested areas need to be declared “bike-free”.

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