The intersection of Mt. Paran and Powers Ferry roads in Sandy Springs could become a roundabout or get a traffic signal in options presented at a Jan. 26 public meeting.
The intersection improvement, presented to more than 50 residents at Holy Spirit Preparatory School, is proposed to ease bottlenecking and reduce accidents. Thirty-three accidents have taken place between 2011 and 2015, mostly likely due to motorists failing to yield at the existing four-way stop sign setup, according to city spokesperson Dan Coffer.
“So far, we haven’t had any serious injuries, but we’re pushing our luck,” said Megan Wilson, the city’s senior traffic engineer.
The attendees were asked to put a sticker on the alternative of their choice. The roundabout appeared to be slightly preferred. However, some residents said they didn’t want any change, and that’s a possibility, too.
The roundabout option could keep traffic flowing and force motorists to slow down on the curves, according to city representatives.
The smart-technology traffic signal option could reduce the duration of traffic and respond to speeds and volume. The signal would require road widening for turning lanes.
Either option could allow for more traffic to go through the area, which backs up with commuters during morning and evening rush hours. They also include some new sidewalks, and either option could involve road-widening.
The city is moving forward with the roughly $2 million project now because it can be funded through a recently approved transportation special-purpose local-option sales tax. Under the TSPLOST, projects must begin within the next five years.
Residents who chose the roundabout say it will blend in with the look of the neighborhood and be more efficient once motorists understand how it works.
Those in favor of the traffic signal, such as Londonberry Road resident Sid Thanawala, said it would be better for walkability purposes.
“With the roundabout, the pedestrian crossing isn’t always going to be manned. Walkers will have to hope a car stops,” said Thanawala. “A traffic signal is straightforward.”
Others weren’t sure either option would work, in particular regarding traffic from the new Atlanta Braves stadium opening in March in Cobb County. Other concerns included right-of-way procurement and potential use of eminent domain.
“You cannot build your way out of traffic,” said Patty Berkovitz, who lives near Powers Ferry Road and Crest Valley Drive. “If you do nothing, people will avoid coming this way and take other residential routes.”
Most agreed either improvement would alleviate problems at the intersection, but worried that the overflow could impact other streets nearby with more traffic or even commercial development.
The next step is for city staff and City Council to consider the community’s input. For more information, visit sandyspringsga.gov. Comments are due by Feb. 10.
–Erika Elaine Wells