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One-cent sales tax would help city roadways - Dunwoody Crier: Local News

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One-cent sales tax would help city roadways

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Posted: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 9:55 am | Updated: 10:01 am, Tue Jun 14, 2011.


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.













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  • Rob Augustine posted at 1:25 pm on Tue, Jun 14, 2011.

    Rob Augustine Posts: 17

    Great to see that 87% of the requests by PCID are for transit related work. Something we've need for a long, long time, as Max also points out.

    Wish that the overall projects planned for the Metro Region were 87% for transit. But they are not. For the reasons Max points out in his comment, this regional transit tax faces an uphill battle because DeKalb and Fulton are already paying the extra tax for MARTA with no help from anyone else (not even the state.) Unless this glaring problem is fixed, there will be little likelihood DeKalb and Fulton voters will favor paying twice as much as anyone else in the region.

    One other note, is it really necessary to have a continuous center lane on Mt. Vernon? Wouldn't some turn lanes at the various intersections work fine?

    Like your new site Dunwoody Crier!! Excellent work.

  • Max posted at 12:40 pm on Tue, Jun 14, 2011.

    Max Posts: 41

    Mr. Williams,

    The objective of the T-SPLOST referendum is laudable; Atlanta's future growth depends on new jobs continuing to flow here. Traffic and pending water limits are two factors that adversely affect Atlanta's growth. I hope Gov. Deal prevails in being creative and proactive with the water issue, but I have my doubts about the current T-SPLOST plan.

    One fact is certain, all new mass transit options are funded for construction, but not for their operations. Which means that ongoing rail will be unfunded. And MARTA is already using it's reserves to fund operations. #FAIL

    As well, Fulton and DeKalb are already paying for the general metro's use of MARTA. Unless the scope of MARTA service and it's governing board are changed, I predict strong opposition to the T-SPLOST by outlying Counties. If the T-SPLOST does not credit DeKalb and Fulton Counties for their funding of MARTA, I suspect strong opposition from those citizens.

    Unless these issues are addressed, perhaps in the Special Legislative session, along with reapportionment, T-SPLOST is facing a daunting challenge. And the best advocacy (which is being employed on T-SPLOST) stands naked in light of these facts.

    Shame of it is, we needed this work twenty years ago as we were booming.