Around Town: Circling the Square ... and taking another look at a roundabout
September 07, 2013 12:00 AM | 4323 views | 2 2 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MAYOR STEVE TUMLIN has sent up an unexpected trial balloon involving Marietta Square — one that quickly proved potentially as controversial as his keynote re-election campaign issue, the $68 million redevelopment bond referendum he has proposed for the troubled Franklin Road corridor.

Tumlin is proposing to create what amounts to a traffic circle on steroids by making all four streets that flow around the Square one-way arteries.

His proposal got a quick thumbs down from the city’s Vision 20/20 Committee at its meeting last month. It has the support of 20/20 Chair Kee Carlisle, but none of the other 13 board members.

But despite getting no traction the first time around, it is already back on the agenda for that body’s September meeting on Monday.

“We shot down the roundabout idea rapidly and it was put back on the agenda,” 20/20 board member Carey Cox, a downtown mortgage broker, told Around Town.

“To be fair, I guess we need to talk about it more, but no compelling case for it was brought before us. My reservation on a revisit on an issue we did not like is if City Hall essentially keeps at us until we like something we have not liked, have we outlived our purpose?” said Cox, adding that one-waying the streets around the Square would cause mass confusion.

“I can’t see how it would make sense,” he said.

One 20/20 Committee member wondered to Around Town if City Hall now is going to propose items repeatedly to the committee until it bows to City Hall’s wishes.

“We could wind up as just a PR board — and we might be one already,” said the member. “I don’t want a precedent for something. Where’s the boundary?”

But Carlisle told Around Town the matter was added to Monday’s agenda at his own request.

“Carey was right to question that, but I put it on there,” he said. “I introduced it at last month’s meeting, but I didn’t get a lot of enthusiasm for it,” Carlisle said. “But we didn’t consider it very long. (So) I’ve added it to the agenda to revisit it. I felt like maybe we owed it more time to talk about it.”


“OUR GROUP hasn’t had an opportunity to discuss the pros and cons as of yet. I really think the idea is so fresh that folks are just now hearing about it. And I think traction will be difficult because the concept will be so radical to many. We don’t like change.”

He’s hopeful committee members might be more open to the roundabout idea, now that they’ve had some time to think about it. Carlisle, a Marietta art dealer, says he hasn’t heard much negative comment from people since the idea first came up.

“I wouldn’t call it ‘negativity.’ It’s more a case of ‘Why would you do that?’” he said. “But some have said positive things about it.”

Others have suggested Marietta look at Dahlonega, where traffic is routed one way around the downtown Square. Carlisle lists St. Simons as the site of one Georgia’s busier traffic circles, and adds that traffic around most of downtown Savannah’s many squares is one-way to a degree, with only right turns allowed.

Much of the resistance to the roundabout idea stems from local drivers’ unfamiliarity with the concept, although that is starting to recede a bit as the city and county have installed traffic circles at several busy intersections in the last few years.

“I think these roundabouts are growing in popularity,” he said. “As far as the nuts and bolts of which lanes go where, that’s up to the traffic engineers to figure out. I’m just saying we need to study the concept."


UP OR OUT: Georgia House Majority Whip Ed Lindsey (R-Buckhead) has clarified his earlier remarks about his future in the state Legislature, saying it’s “up or out.”

State Sen. Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville) announced last week that he was resigning, effective this week, from the state Senate seat he’s held for the past decade in order to focus on his congressional run. That brought an emailed retort last week from Lindsey to his supporters, headlined “I Will Not Abandon Georgia” and saying he did not plan to resign. Around Town (and others) commented that if Lindsey’s congressional hopes failed to pan out he could continue in the Legislature, where he is the powerful House minority whip.

That, in turn, prompted Lindsey to tell Around Town that this is it.

“While I am staying in the House to finish out my commitment to my constituents in my House seat and not burden them with the cost of a special election, I am totally committed to my Congressional race and there is no going back after the election. My State House term is up in 2014 so there is no hedging of my bets. In effect, for me it is up or out next summer in the primary — and I have every intention to move up.”


LINDSEY, who spent last weekend at the U.S. Military Academy watching as his son, Harman, and his classmates at West Point received their class rings, is sharply critical of President Barack Obama’s push to bomb Syria. For starters, it’s hard to see any side in the conflict that we would consider a friend or ally, he said.

“The Syrian government is propped up by Iran, Russia and Hezbollah,” he emailed Around Town. “The dominant rebels are supported by al-Qaida. Both sides are locked into a desperate fight to the death understanding in the end it is either victory or annihilation. Given that fact, it is difficult to see how a weak, limited response will have any impact on the players in this civil war, and a strong long term military intervention will risk young American lives in a no win conflict far more daunting than Afghanistan, Iraq, or even Vietnam.

“Waging war.must not be entered into rashly, to save face or with vague goals — and yet that is exactly what President Obama is asking Congress to approve. The young men and women we will ask to wage this battle deserve better.”


LOUDERMILK says he plans to stay out of the race between Gov. Nathan Deal and new challenger Dr. John Barge of Smyrna, the state school superintendent. But he noted to AT that he was the first legislator to endorse Deal during the governor’s successful race in 2010. ... Loudermilk’s Cobb campaign committee is being co-chaired by Realtor Paul Chastain, president of the Kennesaw Museum Foundation and former state Rep. Roger Hines of Kennesaw.


MORE POLITICS: U.S. Senate candidates Derrick Grayson and Karen Handel will speak at this morning’s First Saturday Breakfast at the Cobb GOP HQ, 799 Roswell St., from 8:30-10 a.m. Cost is $10. ... The Madison Forum will host 11th District candidate Alan Levene at its noon Monday meeting at the Rib Ranch on Canton Road. British-born Levene ran for the 11th seat in 2012 as well, styling himself as “the official write-in candidate” — and got eight votes. ... Cobb Sheriff Neil Warren will host a luncheon honoring first responders and law enforcement at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at Jim Miller Park. Co-host is the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association and featured guest will be Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. The event is expected to be Warren’s first public appearance since fracturing his neck in a rollover accident on the Downtown Connector Aug. 19. ... Patti and Van Pearlberg and Karen and Kee Carlisle will cohost a “Meet the Candidate” reception for Ward 4 Marietta Council candidate Marshall Dye from 3-6 p.m. Sunday at the Pearlbergs’ home at 383 Church St.


NUPTIALS: Retired Superior Court Judge Grant Brantley and Claudia Chadwick will tie the knot at the Marietta Country Club this evening in a private ceremony with reception to follow. Dr. Sam Matthews of First United Methodist Church, is performing the ceremony.


SICK BAY: Retired businessman and WWII veteran E.W. Chastain is in the Intensive Care Unit at WellStar Kennestone.


KEYNOTE speaker at Monday’s First Monday Breakfast of the Cobb Chamber will be John Stephenson Jr., president of the new College Football Hall of Fame going up in Atlanta. Also on Monday, the Chamber will announce the first recipient of a major new annual “Servant Leadership Award” named after one of Cobb’s best-known “servant leaders” of the past three decades.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
September 09, 2013
Not sure how you get a modern roundabout to work at Marietta Square.

Many people confuse older styles of circular intersections with modern roundabouts. East coast rotaries, large multi-lane traffic circles (Arc D’Triumph), and neighborhood traffic circles are not modern roundabouts. If you want to see the difference between a traffic circle, a rotary (UK roundabout) and a modern roundabout (UK continental roundabout), go to to see pictures. And here’s another site that shows the difference between an older rotary and a modern roundabout:

The FHWA ( has a video about modern roundabouts that is mostly accurate ( ).

September 07, 2013
I'm amazed that this is called "controversial" by the MDJ. Mr. Cox is probably the only person against it. This is the best idea I have seen for the square in a long time. The only downside is that it helps the square so much it improves Mr. Goldstein's property values.

*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides