Meeting leads to changes on Smyrna project
by Geoff Folsom
September 22, 2012 01:08 AM | 3629 views | 9 9 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SMYRNA — A Wednesday public meeting appears to have led to some changes in plans for improvements to Concord Road in Smyrna.

The $20.1 million project will put a landscaped median and multi-use trail on a 1.25 mile stretch of Concord Road between South Cobb Drive and Atlanta Road. One of the most discussed topics at the meeting, which drew around 150 people to Brawner Hall, was how traffic turning off Lee and Dunn streets will be prevented from making a left turn onto Concord Road.

Lee and Dunn streets intersect with Concord Road to the south, just west of Atlanta Road. Under the planned safety improvements, the concrete median would go in where there is currently a center turn lane, meaning that drivers can only turn right onto or off of Lee and Dunn streets.

That means that in order to go west on Concord Road, drivers would either have to turn right on Concord Road and then make a U-turn at Atlanta Road or go south to Daniell Drive and then turn right on King Springs Road, then go back north to Concord Road to go west.

Several speakers said that, instead of seeing the intersection blocked, they would like to see a traffic signal installed.

While that won’t happen, the city is changing its plans as a result of the concerns expressed. Smyrna City Councilman Charles Welch, who represents the area south of Concord Road, said the city will now put a protected U-turn for left-turning vehicles on Concord Road at Atlanta Road. He said this will mean that southbound traffic on Atlanta Road will be prohibited from turning right onto Concord Road for a time to allow cars on Concord Road to make a U-turn.

Welch said that engineers have advised against breaking up the median for turns on Lee and Dunn streets.

“We understand the concerns of the neighbors, but there’s still an aspect of safety that we have to take the recommendations of our experts,” he said. “If we don’t do that, I feel we’re not accommodating the best interests of the city as a whole.”

In addition, suggestions at the meeting have led the city to consider placing a sidewalk on Collier Drive south of Concord Road, provided that residents of the street are willing to give up part of their yards at market value, Welch said.

The city will also look at installing speed humps on some of the streets around Concord Road, Welch said.

On Wednesday, public safety officials also addressed possible response time delays caused by the new median. Fire Chief Jason Lanyon said the change will increase the trip for firefighters responding to a call on Lee Street by about a quarter mile.

“There are two fire stations within a mile and a half,” Lanyon said. “That makes this really not a public safety issue.”

Most of the Concord Road project’s $8.5 million construction budget and $2.1 million engineering budget is coming from the 2011 SPLOST, while most of the $9.3 million in right-of-way acquisitions came from the 2005 SPLOST. City Councilman Wade Lnenicka said the 2005 1-percent sales tax vote was initially intended to fund the entire project, but much of that dried up when the economy went south.

Delays from Georgia Power are currently keeping utility relocation from starting, but officials hope to start on construction by spring 2013. From there, City Engineer Keith Williams said it should take about two years to complete, with construction taking place in three phases, starting from west to east. The first phase will go from South Cobb Drive to Evelyn Street, Phase 2 will cover Evelyn Street to King Springs Road and the final phase will go from King Springs Road to Atlanta Road.

Williams said the improvements would make Concord Road safer, particularly in reducing head-on collisions. In 2009, the most recent year statistics were available, the stretch of Concord Road that will be under construction had an accident rate 46 percent higher than the statewide average. In 2007, the stretch had an accident rate 97 percent higher than the statewide average.

Some in the audience Wednesday said the entire project was a waste of money. Resident Mary Kirkendoll even accused the city of intentionally failing to make simple improvements to Concord Road, such as new street signs, in order to increase accidents and justify the larger project.

“This is a $20 million slush fund,” she said, drawing groans from the audience. “There are no businesses coming to Smyrna — that should be the top priority.”

Lnenicka said the meetings are important in order to hear all viewpoints.

“I think it was a great meeting for informing the public about the project and answering their questions and concerns,” he said.
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We the people
September 24, 2012
"Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected."

-James Madison

Slush Fund-a fund raised for undesignated purposes, especially-

a.)a fund raised by a group for corrupt practices, such as bribery or graft

b.)a fund used by a group, as for entertainment
I was there, too
September 23, 2012
Smear tactics are standard operating procedure for Smyrna.

The room had pretty much emptied out before the slush fund remarks were made.

The 'groans' came from the well represented city departments and city employees that accounted for almost 1/2 of the attendees.
Joyce M
September 22, 2012
It was encouraging to hear MK's hateful delusions roundly booed at this meeting. Her legend continues. The most paranoid and bitter person imaginable.
September 22, 2012
I am totally against this median and I do not think this is for safety reasons. When have U-turns been a great way to direct traffic. Seeing where my SPLOST money goes, I will be much more reluctant to vote for these types of funds in the future.

As for asking residents to give up some of there yard for a sidewalk, I doubt I would accept that offer.
Pat H
September 22, 2012
The engineering budget is one-quarter of the price of the project. It appears that all those expensive fees produced a project that had to be changed after a meeting with residents.

A delay of one-quarter mile for police and fire vehicles is deceptive. The actual mileage does not factor in all the U-turns involved in getting to the properties. A fire where someone is trapped and needs rescue or a home invasion can end tragically with emergency vehicles using a complex route involving turns. The vehicles have to slow down and wait to make sure it is safe for them to maneuver.

No reason why the median cannot be broken was given. That is the real question - why not?
crony capitalism
September 22, 2012
Senator Doug Stoner(D), Smyrna, was silent at the meeting. He lives in the Forrest Hills neighborhood,

the neighborhood directly effected by the streets median blockages. He also works in business development at Croy Engineering, the company hired as Program Manager over all of Smyrna's SPLOST projects. This is the largest project in Smyrna's 2005 and 2011 SPLOST.

mk- accidents
September 22, 2012
I stand by my statement that they have turned a blind eye on safety, to build their case to move forward w/ this project.

I've lived in the area for 12 years and I have seen NO effort by this city to make certain roads safer, for traffic and/or pedestrians.

There is an elementary school on this stretch, but in the 12 past years, I have not seen any new clear defined and marked crosswalks leading children from neighborhoods to the school. There are no 'school crossing' signs, no crossing guards, no attempt to protect the children crossing this busy roadway.

There has been NO attempt to repaint crosswalks at other locations on this road. There are dangerous sections, but only because the city has made no attempt to make this road safer.

There is a light that holds up traffic EVERY morning, with cars making a left. The simple remedy would be to prohibit left turns except w/ an arrow. No,.. they sell this project easier if commuters are backed up at lights and stuck in traffic.

It's all under their control!

There ARE other options for his road,.. that could have been accomplished w/ a fraction of cost to the taxpayers.

But it's just so profitable to spend, spend, spend the taxpayers money on unnecessary road projects. There IS a PROFIT to be made when the check is 20 million!
mk-$-20,000,000 lie
September 22, 2012
The city is running businesses off , either by buying them out w/ our tax money, taking by eminent domain, or such unreasonable restrictions, that no-one wants to open under the heavy hand of the Smyrna city government.

The proof is in all the EMPTY projects,.. just sitting vacant.

While Alpharetta, Brookhaven, Roswell, Decatur, Dunwoody, Chamblee, Sandy Springs, Woodstock and other vibrant areas around Atlanta, encourage and welcome businesses to their city,.. Smyrna smugly acts as though they are TOO GOOD for private businesses!!

Smyrna is telling businesses,.. from the run down South Cobb, to Windy Hill and all points in between, that when you open a business in Smyrna, it must be painted on the exterior w/ a neutral paint palette, or be fined.

Yep, while other cities invite and encourage a FREE MARKET,(& FREE THOUGHT)..the city of Smyrna wants to CONTROL and RULE over every aspect of peoples lives!

Smyrna has BIG BIG problems,.. and the way they've forced this WAY OVERPRICED $20 million dollar Concord Road median down our throats is just one of many!!
September 22, 2012
why don't you and the dog catcher leave together.
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