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Traffic Improvements for Brookhaven Intersection Coming Soon

Work to improve the traffic flow at the intersection at Ashford Dunwoody Road and Johnson Ferry Road could be just a few months away.

Courtesy City of Brookhaven
Courtesy City of Brookhaven
From the City of Brookhaven:

Drivers that travel through the intersection at Ashford Dunwoody Road and Johnson Ferry Road may see improvements in traffic flow as early as this summer, much sooner than originally expected.

Brookhaven officials and representatives from the Perimeter Center Improvement District have teamed up with the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to find a solution that alleviates traffic build-up at this intersection that has long been known as one of the most congested traffic locations in the area.

On Tuesday, Brookhaven Councilwoman Rebecca Chase Williams presented a preliminary draft of the new design for the intersection.

The design, created by Kimley Horn & Associates, an engineering firm selected by GDOT, shows additional thru lanes, relocated traffic signals and new caution striping that is expected to shave considerable time off commutes for more than 30,000 motorists traveling through the intersection each day.

The majority of the cost for this project would be funded by GDOT with little cost to the city. Brookhaven would only contribute about one fourth of the total estimated project cost of $290,000. The city’s contribution would be used to facilitate the relocation of utilities.

The new design could potentially reduce traffic congestion by 70 percent at the Ashford Dunwoody Road/ Johnson Ferry Road intersection. Ideas and improvements developed in the city’s collaboration with GDOT will be folded into the Brookhaven Transportation Plan that will launch later this spring.

“We think this will provide immediate traffic relief while the city continues to work on other large scale planning projects.” Brookhaven Mayor Pro Tem and District 1 Council Representative Rebecca Chase Williams said in a news release.

More information about this project will be available as negotiations continue.

cmrc February 27, 2014 at 08:26 AM
Additional details provided by Councilwoman Rebecca Chase Williams February 26, 2014 - 6:47 pm: "Let me correct a few misperceptions. The roads will NOT be widened. No property or right of way will be taken or businesses impinged upon. This plan comes from a previous traffic study that I had seen and asked that some traffic professionals take a look at. The conclusion was that there was indeed a way to make some immediate operational improvements that could make a real improvement to the daily delays experienced by thousands everyday. When GDOT said it was within their budget to pay for most of it as it contributed to the state’s goal of improving traffic flow, I asked, “why wait?” This is a preliminary design but it mainly shows that by moving the two medians, and restriping the lanes, you could have not one, but two lanes of traffic moving through the intersections at both southbound Ashford Dunwoody and Johnson Ferry, thus moving twice as many cars. I don’t think this is the “final” fix of this intersection, but it sure isn’t four-laning any roads or expanding the existing footprint and it is an improvement we could make sooner rather than later. One other note, The drawing for Donaldson is out of date, in that the traffic engineers after recently meeting with nearby residents have determined that restriping to make that intersection with a right turn lane, and a combination through and left turn, would be a big help to those resident turning right. (similar to the Hart’s Mill/Ash Dun intersection). Improving crosswalk safety is a given, and bike lanes are still to be determined as the drawings get finalized. The city also plans to repave this portion of Ash-Dun, so all this work will be coordinated over the summer. I hope this clarifies what is actually being proposed."
Road Scholar February 27, 2014 at 09:32 AM
Have not seen the plan yet, but restriping Donaldson to a right turn lane and a left/thru lane is misguided as the existing approach does not provide adequate sight distance for vehicles turning right to see approaching traffic before they turn right under a red light. Also, they should not turn right when the NB traffic on ADR has the signal/right of way. My observations when I have used this approach many times is that the right movement is lower than both the left and thru movements! If they are combined in one lane, a longer green time will be needed for that movement. Also there is an underground gas vault under the island at JFR/ADR at the north ed. Has this been addressed? When will a public info meeting be scheduled and held beyond a council member unveiling a plan? Is this being done in a vaccum?
Road Scholar February 27, 2014 at 09:34 AM
How about publishing a plan view of the proposed work?
Eric H February 27, 2014 at 12:38 PM
I am trying find a plan to look at also and a townhall meeting to have questions like the below discussed (and these are just questions - I have concerns but I don't assume to know the answers). ...1... I support the PCID and think they do great things, but their goals are not necessarily in line with the goals of residents. The ill timed traffic light that has messed up Murphey Candler/West Nancy Creek traffic at Ash Dun is an example of that. And Brookhaven's consultant won't re-time it because of the PCID traffic signalization program that was done. ...2... No additional right of way and same footprint does that mean the edge of pavement is not being expanded? The cost of utility relocation seemed high so I'm curious if the edge of pavement is being moved thus requiring the power lines to be moved. ...3... Granted its a small triangle with small trees, but that triangle of Green in front of the Valero Gas Station does add character. I'm afraid that paving over everything between Corner Pizza and Valero will give the intersection a Gwinnett County look to the area. ...4... Is much gained by having 2 southbound through lanes on these streets? I always thought more traffic was headed south on Ashford Dunwoody so at some point there is still a weaving/cutting in problem? ...5. .. With 2 south through lanes will people start trying to weave or cut to the other lane inside the intersection? ...6... If it does double the capacity (amount of cars) does that just mean we will attract even more cut through traffic? ....7.... If we have two through lanes on Ashford Dunwoody, instead of the current situation of a one through lane with a another lane that is right hand only that would seem to make Ashford Dunwoody more difficult/dangerous for pedestrians to cross over to Blackburn from the Kroger strip center. Thus the plan should include installation of some kind of pedestrian island and/or pedestrian signal. ...8.... Bike lanes: Ashford Dunwoody is on the ARC map for Bike Lanes. Bike lanes were added to the new Nancy Creek Bridge by Marist. And frankly it would be very easy to continue them Southbound to this intersection by re-striping that center turn lane that is far wider than it needs to be right now. Bike lanes should be included on Ashford Dunwoody. ....9.... A pedestrian Island and/or signal is needed at the YMCA. We have had pedestrian deaths at that crosswalk. And these improvements will increase traffic and make that crosswalk even more dangerous. ....10... Can we get protection from overly bright lighting? This is still a residential area, and many new projects tend to over do it on lighting. ....11.... What type of crosswalk is being installed at Kadleston Way over to the PubliX? Since there doesn't appear to be an addition of sidewalk on the Westside of this intersection (which is reasonable) this crosswalk becomes very important, and again with the # of cars and speed should have signalization and/or a pedestrian Island. ...12.... those plastic pylons or tubes should be installed on Ashford Dunwoody Southbound to prevent people from cutting from the Southbound right hand turn only lane to the one Southbound through lane, and stripe the southbound lanes sooner (farther north). .....13...... don't allow left hand turns into the Kroger/Starbucks shopping center from Ashford Dunwoody Northbound. People seeking access from Northbound Ashford Dunwoody should turn left at the signal onto Johnson Ferry and then turn right into the shopping center.
Road Scholar February 27, 2014 at 05:05 PM
Eric: Many good questions/comments. Until the plan is shared with the public, any comment/feature is conditional. But my response to you is: 1. No comment. 2. By removing a portion of the island at Valero, two lanes could proceed SB to the next intersection. Overhead signs and pavement markings would be required to "assign" the traffic to the correct lane...left lane SB to PIB, right lane to ADR/P'tree Road. Utility ciosts may not be high; there is a buried gas vault in that island that would require moving/modification. 3. Comment was made in the article that little new pavement would be needed, but curb and gutter/sidewalk would be needed on the west side. This would help channelize traffic and allow for sidewalks on that side also. Drainage would need to be improved. 4,5. you almost double the throughput on ADR SB. Overhead signs can assign traffic to the correct lane.6. the traffic is there now. What is your solution? Doing nothing is not an option! This is an arterial.7.9. a mid block ped crossing needs to be looked at at Kroger and at the YMCA. If signalized, it must meet warrants. 8. there may not be enough width for bike lanes , even with "robbing" pavement from the TWLTL. May have to have a shared lane (14 ft wide). 10. maybe, depends on Ga Power- most lighting is lease lighting and is dependant on GP. 11. Need to look at sw on west side. Network needs it. better crosswalks a must with lighting. 12. those would have a shelf life of a day or two. Overhead signing is the need. 13. move left turn up to northern dw- Mcd's won't like it but... I look forward to working with you on the TPSC!
Eric H February 27, 2014 at 06:17 PM
Thanks RS, I was assuming they were not going to install a sidewalk on the west side, aren't they saying it will only cost $290,000? It also seems like there is not a lot of room on the West Side and taking out more trees there could have some serious negative consequences for the backs of those homes there. As to traffic is there now, true. But you know my saying, pave it and they will come aka induced demand aka water finding its way to the first outlet. Yes somewhere in the middle falls the solution.* But I say all this because if in fact we are dramatically increasing the number of cars flowing through the intersection we need to assure the improvements to bike and pedestrian access are commensurate. And appreciate your recognition of that. I certainly hope GP leases offer options. Some of the recent lighting projects have seemed over the top and those homes there shouldn't have to put up with lighted back yards. What I can make out of that picture they are removing the entire Island. If they don't need all of it, it would be nice to have a tree or two in there to break up the pavement and screen the Valero a bit. Understood about the plastic pylons tubes. Though we can send a man to the moon and we can't figure out something non-intrusive that doesn't break when a car hits it? ;-). Maybe turtles or those reflectors, though even those don't seem to last long. I know what TPSC stands for but I'm not clear on what it is supposed to be or do.
Road Scholar February 28, 2014 at 07:49 AM
That is what the article says as to cost, but that is preliminary. Where did you see the plan? I have asked for an electronic copy for all to view. Ms Williams may have let the dog out....why hasn't a Public meeting open to all been scheduled? They may not have curb on the west side but I would recommend it for sidewalk construction and delineation of the pavement edge. By allowing more cars to move, are we not improving Air Quality and mobility? What other alt is there? Cut through the neighborhoods themselves? Managing the traffic (cars, bikes, and peds) is the most important thing next to safety. As for the tubes and the "weaving" to get in the correct lane, we just need drivers that can steer clear and not run into things. Comprehending and remembering the design "advertised" by signs and pavement devices! As for turtles, sometimes I think some drivers aim for them; the epoxy anchor does not hold; some must think it is a slalom course ! ;-)
Eric H February 28, 2014 at 01:00 PM
The brookhavenpost.com has a picture of the google satellite picture that engineers put some drawings on. I can't make out most of the details but it looks like there is no sidewalk on the westside.
Eric H February 28, 2014 at 01:21 PM
moving more cars is fine, but then we have to better mitigate the negative consequences of it. mobility shouldn't be viewed as the ability to merely move more cars, but the ability for us to get to move about in our daily lives, in terms of getting to the store or our job. If we focus solely on moving more cars we repeat the mistakes of the region's past that ultimately leads to longer commute times or more time devoted to getting to work, school and the store. In this instant example by building capacity the Government Spending is influencing market forces relative to development. And that I fear is playing out largely in the Dunwoody portion of the Perimeter Center where we now have massive new office and commercial development proposals that lack a residential component. If we just build office space at the Perimeter Center then most people have no choice but to drive to work since realistically transit will only serve a portion of the total - granted its an important portion. But as traffic builds up at the Perimeter Center the residential component becomes more attractive (the old you could be home now if you lived here scenario) - and to boot so does the MARTA alternative. So I'm convinced this extra capacity will be quickly absorbed by the new office space that comes on line and increased cut through traffic. Now that's not to say I oppose adding this additional capacity, I'm just saying while adding capacity can be a helpful tool, if its the only tool used it can, in the long term, cause more damage. But as to this immediate project, I'm immediately concerned about mitigating the negative effects of the increased traffic counts we will have on the livability of Ashford Dunwoody road. And in that regard share your desire for public meetings on the topic. And I assume since Brookhaven is still new at this they felt there wasn't need but will now rectify the situation and hold some community input meetings.
Road Scholar February 28, 2014 at 05:06 PM
But by not moving traffic more efficiently, "rush hours" last longer and spoil our air, creates more delay for all, encourages more cut thrus on real neighborhood/ local streets (vs this arterial) and negatively affects emergency responders. I have been in contact with COB and have suggested a public meeting. They seem supportive of that... The laneage shown could work with/without the widening of the corridor, but for how long. Improvements to this design can be made and keep the cost down by fixing the operations of these two intersections. With some additional design improvements, let's see how well it will work. The add'l improvements are on south ADR at the Publix dw to JFR; the turn lane storage is whoafully inadequate! Remove the existing dw median and put it in the center of the road. The vehicles exiting the neighborhood there still need to be blocked from turing left due to poor sight distances to the south. This relocated median, depending on its width, could allow for ped refuge in crossing ADR!
mary kirkendoll March 01, 2014 at 09:36 AM
Has a 'roundabout' been considered? One similar to the Emory Village? Emory is a great example of how it should be done! There's just as much traffic through Emory as Ashford D'woody. It's enhanced the pedestrian flavor. It could turn the area into a pedestrian friendly neighborhood village feel. No traffic lights. Traffic flows better. Would include bike lanes, park entrances and updates to the resturants and shops. That could become a very trendy little area.
Road Scholar March 01, 2014 at 05:30 PM
I believe a roundabout design was discussed in the past, but my memory is that there is too much traffic for it to work, even with a 2 lane roundabout. We'll need to see.
mary kirkendoll March 02, 2014 at 09:33 AM
The Emory Village Roundabout traffic count before construction (back in 2000) was 21,000 cars per day. With the completion of that beautiful project and more buildings and mixed use built and more planned, I would guess the traffic count has increased and could very well be closer to 30,000 per day. It's a real dining/walking destination area. As more mixed use rising up around that section of Johnson Ferry/Ashford Dunwoody, city and county planners need to think past traffic alone and imagine the benefits a roundabout with a village flair would bring to the neighborhoods & surrounding area !! Brookhaven, think big!!
Road Scholar March 02, 2014 at 10:31 AM
Mary , what is the source of your traffic numbers? I remember the total being less.
mary kirkendoll March 02, 2014 at 11:00 AM
http://www.emory.edu/EMORY_REPORT/erarchive/2002/June/erJune.10/6_10_02village.html
mary kirkendoll March 02, 2014 at 11:05 AM
But everyone recognizes that the biggest problem in attracting consumers—to say nothing of possible residents—to Emory Village is the long lines of cars queued up on N. Decatur, waiting for the light to change. “In order to attain this safe, economically viable, mixed-use community in the village, we need to make the intersection a safer place to walk across,” said Davis Fox, AIEV chair. “The county has talked about a road diet along N. Decatur for some time; we have embraced that, and we think it will help create a kind of pedestrian environment in the village—the same pedestrian environment the University is trying to create on campus.” The problem is that the extremely high volume of traffic through Emory Village (roughly 21,000 cars pass through on a typical weekday during the academic year) makes it uncertain whether a three-lane road diet and a roundabout would work. According to traffic engineers consulted on the project, the traffic volume in the village is at the limit of what those alternatives could handle. “We’re concerned about that,” Drey admitted. “But the gist of it is that we’re at the upper end [of the limits], which makes us apprehensive, but we are within the doable range, so that makes us confident—and the prudent thing to do is to test it.
Road Scholar March 02, 2014 at 11:13 AM
And while the roundabout is working, some of the queues are still excessive. It has One main road (N Decatur) in the 5 prong roundabout. JFR/ADR has two main heavily traveled roads. Been trying to get an Ave Daily Traffic # for each road, but can't seem to find that now. You also have two closely spaced intersections, which may be an added design challenge!
mary kirkendoll March 02, 2014 at 12:11 PM
Well, if traffic volume is too heavy to make a roundabout work, maybe they could take ideas from the diverging diamond and keep some of the right turn traffic continually moving. Stop only for bikes and pedestrians. Whatever is done, though, there's enough money in Brookhaven, that it should be well a thought out design that includes enhancements to the park entrances, the resturants and shopping, the new mixed use and the surrounding neighborhoods, not just a quick asphalt fix.
Douglas March 02, 2014 at 06:49 PM
I reside in the housing community on Donaldson and the upcoming development has always been a hot topic for current and new owners. Our HOA has held two meetings in which the City has attended where they shared additional information of the city plans. Dekalb County study recommended Round Abouts but the city in its infancy halted the discussion of that approach. The Brookleigh development (unsure if it would ended up Chamblee or Brookhaven so they chose Brookleigh) was required to build into their plans changes to the roads which included Donaldson becoming right turn only. In January, I presented an augmentation request to the plan to representatives from PCID, Brookhaven and Kimley Horn & Associates. The request was to not make Donaldson right turn only but be two lanes with right turn only & Left/Straight. In response to Road Scholar, this information below that was shared at the discussion may clear up your previous comment of concerns - * Traffic volume turning right on Donaldson to AD/JF exceeds the left and straight combined especially during peak traffic times. While it may seem less when you went through it, the traffic counts demonstrate the opposite. * The cycle time of the signal will remain unchanged to be in sequence with the remainder of the sequenced roadway. This limits them resolving the current reported issue in seeclickfix for sometime of the 3-5 cycles through in the morning at this light to turn right as a result of vehicles continuing on AD. I would disagree, the current light does provide enough visual site lines to make safe turns on right turns in both NB traffic from JF or AD. Additional no turn on red would further reduce traffic flow in off peak times when no turn on red is implemented with signals that are time sequenced versus solely sensor driven. I am elated to see the clarification from Ms. Chase Williams and to know that this will be moving forward in the upcoming months.
cmrc March 04, 2014 at 09:47 AM
Donaldson Drive was right only and straight/left before DeKalb 'fixed' it about 10-12 years back. When it was changed to its current configuration, initially it was signed 'No Right on Red.' That did not last long because the right lane backed up too deep and many (most) drivers ignored the sign. Even after DeKalb allowed right on red, that lane moves too slowly for the current timing. I believe returning to the proposed right only, straight/left will help. However I think Donaldson needs at least 5 seconds additional green during peak flow times. For some reason, drivers stopped at Donaldson are slow to react on green. I use Donaldson to enter AD/JF nearly every day and I often witness only 3 -4 cars clearing on green. If a Donaldson driver yields to a vehicle exiting Texaco or Mesh Corners, even less traffic clears the light.
Emilia Lanier March 20, 2014 at 11:59 AM
If sb traffic on Ash-Dun would actually move I would be taking Harts Mill from Chamblee and not cutting through at Donaldson to get to the area around Oglethorpe. Many of my neighbors use Donaldson as a cut through to avoid the backups on Ash-Dun sb.

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