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Dienhart: Change way developers do traffic studies

Most of the political conversation around town these days is centered on the traffic situation near the intersection of Ga. highways 74 and 54. The situation is bad and about to get worse.

I am sponsoring a vote to stop the connection road of the large new shopping center into the Planterra Ridge subdivision and stop another proposed stop light on the agenda for our next council meeting.

We need to focus on protecting our neighborhoods.

I will also be proposing two other ordinances that should help future councils do right by our citizens, and avoid some of the miscommunication that has plagued our current council.

The first ordinance was suggested by a participant of the citizen meeting I chaired on the proposed Overlook development.

This ordinance will change the way real estate developers provide traffic studies for any developments proposed for the city. This ordinance, once enacted, will require developers to pay the city for an independent study the city hires. This will take politics out of the equation, focusing on protecting our neighborhoods.

The second ordinance will be to create a traffic management ordinance that will not allow any new development around the intersection of Hwys 74 and 54, making traffic worse.

This ordinance would apply strict standards to any development until a comprehensive study is complete. When the study is presented to the city, the ordinance would “expire,” thereby allowing a future council to make a correct and data-driven decision on the area.

I believe that this is a responsible and reasonable response to our current situation. It addresses the concerns of protecting our subdivisions and maintaining traffic flow. It allows those who want more data to get data, and it keeps us from making critical mistakes.

Hopefully the City Council will do the right thing. It is time to work together for what is right for Peachtree City.

George Dienhart
City Council Post 2
Peachtree City, Ga.



Mike King's picture

Political conversations take on many subjects, but suggesting that most of it surrounds an issue pertaining to the Hwy 74 and Hwy 54 traffic situation is purely political grandstanding. All of us recognize the problem rests with an over abundance of existing traffic lights, but seriously, how does effecting specific ordinances remedy anything? You do realize that DOT has the final say in matters regarding state highways regardless of city preferences?
Further, placing more restrictive standards on property owners have historically hampered economic growth, not to mention the potential for litigation against the city.
My friend, while your ordinances may be well intentioned, they may prove otherwise given the legal track record of our city.
Good luck in your mayoral run.

Just maybe a comprehensive review of the entire 54 corridor is needed. PTC needs to identify where the traffic comes from and how it disperses along with estimated growth trends and solutions. This should be done by a trusted independent engineering firm connected to GDOT, the same way Coweta is approaching it.

George, it might be that some of your political base live in Planterra, but instead of fighting off a corridor study which Ms. Fleisch proposed, you could embrace it.

There are other issues to differentiate yourself from Ms Fleisch but on this one there should be room for some agreement.
"Anti developer" and "protecting neighborhoods" sound good in an election year but it will not fix the traffic problem.

Light or no light, service road or no service road.... Until we fully study the entire corridor and understand and find a comphrensive solution, your "friends" in Planterra may be the first in line beating on your mayoral door demanding a fix because the traffic has grown so bad they may not get out on to 54 either way!


And "no" I have not decided on who I am supporting for mayor...Just don't like the "politics" on the 54 corridor that's been playing out.

Mike King is right. A waste of time and money. This is nothing more than political grandstanding and a twist on the Brown Clown/Donnie Darko populist anti-growth message that plays well in the blogs and at the Rotary Club meeting but has nothing to do with reality once elected. I would also say its not even the first priority of the next mayor/council. The budget is still number one in my book.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

1. Developer funds traffic study, city chooses firm to do the study. Perfect. Only a complete fool would argue against that, but we do have them.
2. Obviously the wording is the key to your second idea, but it starts to sound a little bit like a moratorium which as you may know was tried by former mayor and gadfly Brown and his BRAWN Dream Team, but it was struck down swiftly by the grownups via. the legal process.

Good ideas though. The current wrangling over this one light for the sake of a "green" mini-Publix is just plain silly and you are making an attempt at improvement. I still think that you can end this discussion with a recitation of simple facts - 1. council can support a developer's request for a traffic light with a simple 3-2 (or better) vote and 2. council does not have the minimum 3 votes required for support and 3. there is no reason and certainly no urgency to keep yammering on about it.

If Vanessa can't make a simple yes or no decision for a simple recommendation to GDOT without a $30,000 traffic study, she's not worthy of being on council. The reason all you people were elected is to make these decisions for the rest of us. Next chance you get - just force a simple yes or no vote on the recommendation and finish with this.

Live free or die!

Here's another idea to contemplate.

Pre-approve 5-7 preferred traffic engineering firms that understand the city's unique development plan and the objectives of the city. When selecting these firms, factor in whether or not the firm is local or utilizes staff that live in Fayette County. Put some skin in the game. (If legal to do so).

Require developers to engage one of the pre-approved firms to perform the traffic studies. This permits competitive bidding.

Stop the nonsense about regarding a moratorium on future development until a comprehensive traffic plan is established. As the economy brightens, we want to encourage businesses to open here.

While I agree that we need to protect neighborhoods, I don't see how an access road from the Line Creek Development to Plantera Way will result in any child safety concern. Allow trucks to only turn left to get on Hwy 54. While some already use Plantera Way to skirt the traffic to get onto Hwy 74 south, most don't because the street parking and speed bumps make this cut thru much slower. Are you digging your heels into the sand to garner votes or perhaps garner the endorsement of the chairman who lives in this development?

Hwy 54 south, will be developed one way or another. Its been on the books for quite some time and anyone who purchased a home in the vicinity of 74/54 knew about this or should have done their due diligence. Traffic is only going to get worse.

Therefore, its imperative that the city invest in traffic study now, not later, and come up with a plan that best suits our long term needs. Present the findings to GDOT to garner their approval of the plan, then let city council, Fayette Commission, and our state senators to lobby for the funding. The city council needs to be proactive since GDOT tends to pay more attention to the north side of Atlanta and their traffic woes due to the greater population. We need to stop wasting valuable time and energy and determine what needs to get done based on the facts of the study. Perhaps two of the bigger tenants (Walmart / Home Depot) would offer to help subsidize the study since better traffic flow would also increase their business too.

By the way, I would shy away from making any statements about a comprehensive traffic study without first getting a majority approval from your fellow council members. Otherwise, people will start confusing you with the mayor.

I am not "fighting off" the comprehensive study. My stance has always been that Ms. Fleish's proposal was not broad enough. We can't focus solely on the area in question. We also need a study on the roads feeding traffic to the corridor. I disagreed that our taxpayers should pay to fund the study on a road that is ultimately GDOT's responsibility. I countered that we should work with GDOT toward a useful and comprehensive study. That is what we are doing.

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