One of the plans on display at the Feb. 8 public meeting proposes adding traffic signals and left turn lanes to the intersection Dunwoody Club Drive/Jett Ferry Road intersection. (Evelyn Andrews)

Plans to install traffic lights or build a roundabout at the Dunwoody Club Drive/Jett Ferry Road intersection received a mixed reaction from residents that attended a Feb. 8 public meeting.

The cities of Sandy Springs and Dunwoody presented those two plans that they hope would curb the amount of wrecks at the intersection, which is on the cities’ border and is currently a four-way stop.

About 100 residents attended the open house meeting at Dunwoody Community Church. There wasn’t a clear favorite proposal from the crowd. Several residents’ concerns centered on making sure this project is necessary by doing a traffic study on the effectiveness of recently-installed flashing lights on the four stop signs in the intersection.

Another plan on display at the Feb. 8 meeting proposes adding a roundabout to the intersection. (Evelyn Andrews)

The roundabout would be a one-lane roundabout with a landscaped center median. It is designed to slow down traffic, but keep traffic flowing at a constant speed of around 15 mph, said Patricia Cooley, a consultant with engineering firm CALYX. The traffic signal plan would add dedicated left turn lanes to every side of the intersection. Each light would also have a left turn arrow, said Joe Gillis, the traffic manager for Sandy Springs projects funded under a transportation special local option sales tax.

Crosswalks would also be added to the two sides that don’t currently have them.

The roundabout is estimated to cost $1.5 million. The traffic light proposal would cost an estimated $1.2 million. The two cities plan to split the cost, Gillis said.

The project was mostly prompted by the amount of accidents in the intersection, Gillis said. Drivers don’t always completely stop at the signs, and they can be overlooked, he said.

Between 2014 and 2017, there were 40 accidents in the intersection, according to a handout distributed at the meeting.

“The big thing we have to look at is safety,” Dunwoody Mayor Denis Shortal said at the meeting.

Sandy Springs Councilmember John Paulson, like many residents, said he wants a study done to determine if the flashing, solar-powered lights that were installed last December have been effective at alerting drivers to the stop signs.

The current conditions at the Dunwoody Club Drive/Jett Ferry Road intersection as shown in a display at the Feb. 8 public meeting. (Evelyn Andrews)

The intersection is neighbored on the west by a residential area and immediately surrounded by a Chevron gas station, a CVS pharmacy and a Kroger supermarket. On the northwest corner of the intersection is the Dunwoody Country Club and a “butterfly garden” that is maintained by the Spalding Garden Club, which is concerned by the plans because they would destroy part of the garden.

The cities would have to negotiate with those commercial property owners for right of way they would need for both projects. However, neither project would need to take any property from residential owners, according to the designs.

Barbara Meehan, the chair of the Spalding Garden Club, which has maintained the garden between the Dunwoody Country Club and the intersection since 1989, said she is concerned by how much of the garden could be lost if the plans move forward.

“We think it should be considered when they are making decisions,” Meehan said.

Sixty feet of the front of the garden and 12 feet on the sides of the garden would be removed in either plan, Cooley said.

Paulson said he will wait to review resident feedback before choosing a preferred proposal, but said he is not averse to the idea of a roundabout like some are.

“I’m not afraid of roundabouts,” he said.

A nearby Sandy Springs resident, Lucy Lansky, said she thought a roundabout could not handle the high traffic in that area. She feared a roundabout would cause more accidents due the amount of cars that travel through the intersection.

“I am not an expert, but I think a roundabout is better for light traffic,” she said.

But she said she supports the plan to add traffic signals, saying the stop signs do not move traffic through quickly enough and can be dangerous.

“The stop signs are not good enough,” she said.

Gillis could not provide exact numbers on how each plan would improve traffic compared to the current conditions, but said both proposals would provide enough of an improvement to be considered viable solutions.

Another Sandy Springs resident, Bob Barnaby, said he favors the roundabout proposal because it would keep traffic flowing and would not be subject to signal timing issues.

Comments on the proposals can be emailed to traffic@sandyspringsga.gov.

CORRECTION: This story incorrectly said the roundabout would be two lanes. It would instead be one lane.

9 replies on “Traffic signal, roundabout proposed for intersection at Dunwoody/Sandy Springs border”

  1. The flashing stop signs do not work at all times (and in some directions-at no times) and need to be fixed and the obnoxious residents who do not completely stop at the signs ( and there are plenty of them) need to consider the safety of others and follow the law. An occasional police presence here might help,( although I doubt it with these self-absorbed residents).A roundabout would invite aggression with this crowd, need a stop light.

    1. Good point about the aggression that would not be resolved, not to mention the inevitable road-rage incidents resulting from the fact it’s a 2 lane roundabout and numerous people will not understand how to properly use the lanes (i.e. the outer lane is not allowed to go to the street at ‘9 o’clock’, thus cutting off someone who is properly using the left lane and trying to go to 12 o’clock, etc.).

  2. Lansky is correct. Roundabouts only work well when there is a light flow of traffic, and thus very short wait times for ‘gaps’ that a person can pull into. This intersection has a pretty constant in-flow from 3 directions (all but southbound) and the roundabout would not only fail–but would represent $1.5M down the drain.

    It should be a logical choice to go with the one that is considerably less costly and is guaranteed to not fail.

  3. The roundabout is a disaster. Just look at what they did with the 2 roundabouts they built on riverside drive and 285. It is a traffic mess in the morning and evening rush hours — And a waste of taxpayers and sandy springs’ residents money.

  4. No…..roundabouts move traffic in a confusing way causing lots of horn blowing and aggressive driving. We already have that.

    As much as I hate to have another red light, that’s the best solution for this spot.

    After addressing this issue, let’s fix the Dunwoody Club/ Chapparrel dangerous blinking light section. It’s suicide pulling out of there..

  5. I attended the meeting on Thursday at the Community Church.

    I believe a traffic light would move more traffic if the lights at DCC & Mt Vernon and Jett Ferry & Mt Vernon were adjusted.

    Round abouts confuse people.

  6. This is the worst idea ever!! The intersection is NOT broken… why fix it!?? Just more of our taxpayer dollars on something that will create a nightmare for drivers in the area. Everyone knows how to stop at a 4 way stop…. why go round and round and cause chaos!

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