The Gist

- Consultants for the city are analyzing safety and access problems along Roswell Road.
- The public can identify problems on an interactive map on the city website.
- The Roswell Road Access Management Plan will be completed in the fall, but project designs and construction will take years.

More than 30 people shared traffic problems along Roswell Road during a Jan. 24 meeting as the city of Sandy Springs considers safety, mobility and access solutions.

The meeting was another step on the timeline for the Roswell Road Access Management Plan and the first public input meeting. It builds upon the Roswell Road Small Area Plan, which established a vision for Roswell Road as a “boulevard” with safer access for motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists.

An interactive map on the city’s website allows local residents and motorists to make comments and suggestions about issues along Roswell Road, from Dunwoody Place to the north and the Sandy Springs city limit near Meadowbrook Drive.

Some residents said that the corridor as a whole is dangerous to drive.

“Whether it’s because of a conflicting turning movement or some areas with higher speeds, I think that’s definitely an accurate assessment of what we’ve also seen in the data as well,” said Megha Young of architecture, engineering and design firm Gresham Smith.

Nithin Gomez, Gresham Smith’s team leader for the project, said the access management plan got started in August 2021. They expect to complete it in October of this year and are in the plan’s first phase of data collection.

The project team is looking to improve safety and maintain an efficient operation of the roadway and access along Roswell Road.

“Every roadway has two roles: to ensure safe mobility along that roadway, in addition to providing access to properties along the roadway,” Gomez said.

The roadway had 5,543 crashes from 2015 through 2019, he said. One in four crashes resulted in at least one injury. Eleven of the crashes were fatal. Pedestrians were involved in 51 crashes and bicycles in 10 crashes. The total crash rate and injury crash rate are almost twice as high as the state average for an urban principal arterial.

They conduct analysis of safety deficiencies, inefficient turning movements, and other aspects of the street and environment around it that impede mobility and connectivity, he said. Then they’ll identify specific improvements to benefit motorists, pedestrians and cyclists, such as medians, intersection treatments and improved pedestrian crossings.

Possible improvements include:

  • A raised median that opens at strategic places to allow traffic movements.
  • Limited and separated driveways, consolidating driveways.
  • Inner parcel connections with shared driveways for parcels.

The community members who took part in the meeting shared nearly equal interest in these types of improvements.

A large portion of the meeting was devoted to Q&A, with the consultants asking what stakeholders had been contacted. Young said those included certain businesses along Roswell Road, vulnerable user organizations, the principal at North Springs High School, a representative from the North Fulton Government Center and first responders from the city’s police and fire departments.

Dedicated green arrow signals for left turns will be considered in the analysis, Gomez said.

Another person asked if the project would consider the size of sidewalks and their spacing from Roswell Road. Long-term safety of pedestrians is part of the project’s vision, so separation of the sidewalk from the adjacent traffic lanes and the vegetation strip along the sidewalk are considerations, he said.

“At the end of the day, we are trying to accommodate all users safely within the available space that we have,” Gomez said.

After this analysis is completed later this year, future projects would get detailed designs. The design phases could take several years with bigger projects taking five years or more for construction, he said. Projects already part of the TSPLOST (Transportation Special Local Option Sales Tax) voters approved in November 2021 might be completed earlier.

Public input will be accepted until Monday, Feb. 7. For information visit spr.gs/accessroswell or email SafeRoswellRoad@sandyspringsga.gov.

Bob Pepalis

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Reporter Newspapers.