While the Dunwoody City Council continues its discussion of a parks bond referendum and perhaps one for transportation improvements, the city and the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts have fingers crossed about next year’s regional vote on a 10-year, one-cent sales tax for transportation projects.
Passage could mean improvements to two of Dunwoody’s busiest streets, better access in the downtown business district and less congestion on I-285.
Already, most of what the city and the PCID submitted for consideration if the sales tax passes has survived the first cut. State Transportation Planner Todd Long studied the lists from the cities and counties in the 10-county region that includes DeKalb County and approved $22.9 billiion in improvements. All but one Crier-area project made his list. He also struck a large number of projects and added others, running the total to $29 billion.
But now the region transportation roundtable must do the hard work: cutting the list to $8 billion. The region list is transit-heavy, slating $14 billion for bus and rail and $8 billion for road improvements.
In the Dunwoody area, the project list is dominated by requests from the PCIDs, the regional business and shopping hub:
• Dunwoody MARTA station accessibility/connectivity improvements,
• Medical Center MARTA station accessibility/connectivity improvements,
• Sandy Springs MARTA station accessibility/connectivity improvements,
• I-285 mass transit from Cumberland to Perimeter,
• I-285 mass transit from Perimeter to Doraville,
• Widening and reconstruction of Hammond Drive from GA 400 to Ashford Dunwoody Road,
• Inter-Perimeter Circulator System,
• PCIDS’ Automated Traffic Management System.
“The process was extremely competitive,” said PCIDs President and CEO Yvonne Williams. “However inclusion of our projects on Todd Long’s investment list signifies that they met the criteria development by the Atlanta Region Transportation Roundtable last year and are of benefit to the Metro Atlanta region.”
The proposed PCID projects approach $600 million in cost, with the lion’s share, $524 million, going to the bus rapid transit and light rail projects along I-285 from the Cumberland Mall area to Doraville.
While the PCIDs seek a part in major transit improvements, Dunwoody’s requests are modest indeed. It is part of the PCID effort for an automated traffic management system and could benefit from the business district’s requests within its boundaries.
The city has two other projects on the transportation’s planner’s list:
Corridor improvements on Mt. Vernon Road from the Fulton County line east to Dunwoody Club Drive ($20 million).
Corridor improvements on Chamblee-Dunwoody Road from I-285 north to Spalding Drive (($14.4 million).
Both of Dunwoody’s busiest streets are considered roads of regional significance. The requests for each include improvements at intersections currently rated F, by state standards.
In the Mt. Vernon Road request, the city refers to the addition of a continuous center turn lane.
“In some places it would require widening to add the turn lane,” said city Public Works Director Michael Smith, “but it would require very little additional right of way.”
For Chamblee Dunwoody Road, it refers to multi-modal activity.
Smith said references to multi-modal activities do not mean new transit projects.
“Multi-modal really just means car, pedestrians, bikes plus transit where there are existing bus routes,” he said. “The terminology was taken from the project recommendations in the Village and Georgetown master plans.”
South of Dunwoody in north Brookhaven, the state transportation planner rejected a county request for $10.8 million for corridor improvements on Ashford Dunwoody Road from I-285 south to Peachtree Boulevard.
He said the project was more suitable for funds from a state Department of Transportation matching program.