DUNWOODY, Ga. — Dunwoody is changing its bike lane plans along Mount Vernon Road and Tilly Mill Road after reexamining the area.
Dunwoody Public Works Director Michael Smith presented the new concept to the Dunwoody City Council on Aug. 12, explaining that there is a lower density of driveways and side streets to Mount Vernon Road between Tilly Mill Road and Mount Vernon Place. This makes the road more conducive to implementing a 12-foot wide multi-use path, Smith said.
In 2017, concept designs for intersection improvement at Tilly Mill and Mount Vernon Place and Mount Vernon Road were presented to the council.
“The concept for Mt Vernon Place was to straighten that roadway to make it come in at more of a right angle with Tilly Mill to reduce some of the confusion at that intersection,” Smith said.
There was a concept to add left turn lanes at Tilly Mill and adjacent neighborhoods, he said, as well as bike lanes and sidewalks from Mount Vernon Place to Cedar Chase. But the Public Works Department has been reviewing the city’s bicycle network, and there may be more interest in multi-use paths, protected from vehicle traffic, rather than on-street bike lanes, he said.
Councilman Tom Lambert attended a summit on pedestrian and bike planning in March, he said, and he learned that many cities have a master plan for trails separate from their transportation master plan. He said this may best suit Dunwoody as well.
“Right now ours falls within the transportation master plan,” Lambert said. “My fear is sometimes it gets a little lost in there.”
Smith said that if the city plans to move forward with the path concept on this project, it would need to plan on extending that path down to Vermack, so it would connect to an intersection with traffic signals.
The multi-use path would cost $10,000 more than original estimates for the bike lanes plan, according to a memo sent to the City Council. The total cost for the multi-use path is $170,000, and there is currently $300,000 available for this project’s final design and any additional roadway acquisition.
The new plan was also shopped to the Bradford Place and Wellesley neighborhoods. Smith said the main concerns he heard from residents was power lines being affected by the construction and the potential loss of trees. But Smith said he had confirmation from Georgia Power that moving the power lines to the opposite side of the street would not be a problem.
There should be minimal loss of trees, since the roads are wide enough to accommodate these paths by removing what would have been bike lanes, he said.
Mayor Denis Shortal supported the new concept, speaking from his own experience using on-street lanes.
“We didn’t have the money and I know that,” Shortal said. “But if I think back, and we had to do it all over again, I think multi-use paths might have been the way to go.”
The mayor said he had met with GDOT officials, and they told him that there were plans to connect multi-use paths throughout the North Atlanta region. It is not connected now because of the Top End Express Lanes plan, he said.
There is a plan similar to what Lambert proposed expected to be presented to the Atlanta Regional Commission in the next 90 days as well, Shortal said.
The council voted 7-0 to implement the new concept along this section of Mount Vernon and Tilly Mill roads.