Plans for the roundabout as a replacement for the busy intersection of Wieuca Road and Phipps Boulevard are back on track after a temporary delay when Wieuca Road Baptist Church considered selling its property.

The planned roundabout is at one corner of the church’s property. The church had considered selling at least some of its property, but in October the membership voted to stay in Buckhead.

Darion Dunn, director of capital improvements for the Buckhead Community Improvement District, said at the organization’s Dec. 8 board meeting that the concept for the roundabout is being revised to include two lanes.

“This is a very rare design. Most are one lane,” Dunn said. “We could do one lane, but it would still cause backup.”

Dunn said an education process with the community and the church continues and the BCID is working with city staff to ensure the roundabout is functional. Estimated to cost more than $2 million to build, the five-legged roundabout would relieve traffic jams 23 hours a day—leaving the evening rush-hour peak still clogged, a consultant previously told the CID board.

“The good news is everyone agrees something should happen,” Dunn said.

Dunn said crosswalks will be included in the roundabout design and the study includes looking at the possibility of using rapid-flash beacons to warn motorists of pedestrians. Bike lanes are also part of the plans – some on the street and also separate bike paths, he said.

“The city wants to get away from putting bike lanes on streets” due to safety concerns, he said.
Atlanta City Councilmember Howard Shook, whose district includes a portion of Buckhead, asked if there was a way to separate pedestrians from cars. Dunn said that change would likely include using up right-of-way and “may makes some property owners unhappy.”

Shook raised concerns about one pedestrian being able to shut down the entire roundabout by pushing a “walk” button. Dunn said alerts would likely be used to allow traffic to slow to allow a pedestrian to cross the street rather than forcing motorists to come to a complete halt.

Among other items discussed during the BCID board meeting:

■ “The Storyteller” sculpture was installed before Thanksgiving at the Buckhead branch of the Atlanta-Fulton County Library located on Buckhead Avenue.

“It’s become a focal point, even more than [the library officials] thought it would be,” Dunn said. “It’s been a pleasant surprise.”
Commissioned in 1998 by the Buckhead Coalition, “The Storyteller” depicts a buck-headed man speaking to a group of animals.

The statue vanished from public view and was kept in storage during a BCID-led, $2.5 million park renovation that wrapped up last year.

■ Also, a monumental steel-and-water sculpture titled “Aspiration” by Atlanta architect and artist John Portman that will be placed in Charlie Loudermilk Park has been fabricated in New York and will be inspected by Portman either through videos or during a trip to New York.

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