Citizens want 54W traffic study
The hot-button issue surrounding a potential new grocery store along Ga. Highway 54 West has been a request for a new traffic light at Line Creek Drive and its potential negative impact on the artery.
Yet there is another impact of that potential development, one that will be longer-lasting to a very small population of the city: those homeowners in Cardiff Park who will have the shopping center just beyond their backyards and thus will have to “live with” the shopping center every day.
Another impact, by extension, will affect residents in Planterra Ridge who worry they may face more cut-through traffic to and from the development. The impact even stretches further down the road, to MacDuff Parkway, where residents are reporting having difficulty turning onto Hwy. 54 because of the traffic.
For those reasons, several residents at a meeting Tuesday urged for a traffic study of the area before the city proceeds on the development, presuming that the grocery store plan comes to fruition.
The good news is that Jim Lowe of Trinity Development is confident that a host of concessions won for the neighbors would still be in play if the “green” grocery store concept comes to fruition. If it doesn’t, however, those concessions may go by the wayside as Trinity would in essence become a land broker, selling off the remaining land parcel by parcel.
Lowe said the grocery store would be a “higher-end” version of a “green” grocery store concept offered by a major grocery store retailer.
“It would not be a standard grocery store,” Lowe said.
Trinity has already sold the RaceTrac parcel right off the highway and is poised to sell the other off-highway tract to Chick-fil-A which recently had its concept plans approved by the planning commission. The question remains as to what happens on the remainder of the site.
Councilman George Dienhart, who chaired a meeting Tuesday with Councilwoman Vanessa Fleisch and concerned citizens along with Lowe, was adamant that he would not budge on allowing a traffic light at Line Creek, nor would he approve the proposed link to Planterra Way; both of which, Dienhart has said, are requirements for the grocery store.
Lowe said he has gotten a significant amount of opposition about the road link to Planterra, and he will pass that along to the grocery store company that is interested in the site.
As far as the traffic issue goes, Fleisch said she was interested in scaling back her proposed traffic study of the entire highway corridor for now in an attempt to look strictly at the impact of this proposed development.
Fleisch initially proposed having a study of the entire corridor stretching from Willowbend Road and Hwy. 54 all the way to the county line.
Planterra resident Jim Richter said he was against the city spending any money on the matter when the study should be paid for by the Georgia Department of Transportation.
Presumably, that study would look at the series of traffic signals on Hwy. 54 between Ga. Highway 74 and MacDuff Parkway. Resident Scott Hollowell noted that he lives off MacDuff and it can be “pretty tough” to turn onto Hwy. 54 from MacDuff.
Cardiff Park resident Patrick Staples asked if there was any data on how much the proposed development would add to the traffic in the corridor. The answer to that question might prove to be key to the entire scenario, yet at the same time the ultimate decision on the traffic light rests with the Georgia DOT and not the Peachtree City Council.
Cardiff Park resident Tim Lydell said he travels along Hwy. 54 West all the time during various times of day, and he insisted that he has never “sat in traffic.”
Despite that contention, there are a number of motorists who have become stuck in the westbound backlog of vehicles on Hwy. 54 that stretch all the way back to City Hall on Willowbend Road at the peak congestion times.
As for Staples and the other residents in Cardiff Park who live along the rear of the shopping center, there is the potential for increased berms and larger trees if the elevation of the shopping center isn’t as low as previously planned, Lowe said.
There is another “plan B” for the site which could be developed without the grocery store proposal, Lowe said. Fayette County Commission Chairman Steve Brown said he has seen that proposal and he thinks it would be a good fit for the city, a theory to which Dienhart agreed.