Council: No new lanes for Whitlock Avenue
by Hilary Butschek
June 26, 2014 04:00 AM | 2506 views | 19 19 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Andy Morris
Andy Morris
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MARIETTA — Marietta City Councilman Andy Morris’s proposal to ease traffic congestion on Whitlock Avenue met with a chilly response from the City Council on Wednesday.

Morris made it clear during last night’s committee meeting he is not in favor of widening Whitlock Avenue.

Rather, he proposed a discussion at the public works committee, which is chaired by Councilman Grif Chalfant, to increase the number of westbound lanes on two streets — Whitlock Avenue and Polk Street — leading away from Marietta.

“What I was discussing was, from Kirkpatrick out, there’s several turn lanes, several medians. My thought is … we make two lanes coming out from Kirkpatrick out,” Morris said.

The lane on Whitlock Avenue, Morris proposed, would be from the intersection of Kirkpatrick Drive, near a Waffle House, to Burnt Hickory Road, next to Kroger, a distance of about half a mile.

Morris said he made the proposal for new lanes on Whitlock Avenue because he wanted to discuss more efficient ways of using the paved road that already exists, not widening it.

“You would not widen Whitlock at all from that area. You would just be changing the painting on some of the streets,” Morris said.

He said while most of Whitlock Avenue has three lanes, some portions also include right-hand turn lanes, where the asphalt could be redrawn to make a new westbound lane.

On Polk Street, Morris said the area where he is considering adding another lane is the less than a quarter-of-a-mile section between Mountain View Road and Burnt Hickory Road.

Mayor Steve Tumlin said the new lanes would be a quick fix to a traffic problem that would still exist farther down Whitlock Avenue.

“I’m not for it,” Tumlin said about the proposal.

Councilman Johnny Walker said he was against widening Whitlock Road after hearing comments from residents during the day Wednesday.

“I’ve spent my entire day on the phone with this issue,” Walker said. “As long as I’m councilman, I would never support the widening of Polk Street or the widening of Whitlock.”

Morris’ proposal coincides with other changes to the area along Whitlock Avenue. The street will soon receive new sidewalks, pedestrian crossing lights, trees and decorative signs along a 1.5-mile stretch of Whitlock Avenue between Oakmont Drive, which leads to Marietta Middle School, and Polk Street Extension, which is next to a Kroger.

This streetscape project will cost $4 million, which comes from the $68 million redevelopment bond issuance passed last fall.

Chalfant said he didn’t think inner Marietta had a large enough traffic problem to continue with the plans to add new lanes to Whitlock Avenue.

The council did not order any action on the suggestion at Wednesday’s meeting.

The changes wouldn’t take place any time soon. The council would still have to consider and approve lane addition plans. Also, the Georgia Department of Transportation would have to approve the plans because it is a state highway, Chalfant said.

Comments
(19)
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2 WCP
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July 02, 2014
To all the West Cobb Paulding chommuters..

I am heading to my lake house for an extended 4th of July weekend today. My extra 1500 sq ft of house are in the REAL country, not in the exurbs, and I don't live in them every day. They exist in a separate house to which I do not have to drive on a daily basis.

I am driving there today, yet I will drive fewer hours to get there than you have to commute because you bought stupidly in West Cobb Paudling while still of working age.

Since you can't afford to go anywhere due to your decision to buy "as much house as possible," maybe you can park out front of my house when you come watch my city's fireworks that I pay taxes for.

I pay taxes for Whitlock. You drive all over it. I pay taxes for fireworks. You come watch them.

Hey, you are a LOT like an Illegal welfare queen, aren't you!! Those darn illegal welfare queens.. They sure do think they are entitled!!!!
doublespeak2
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June 28, 2014
Hey Johnny,

The statement "Councilman Johnny Walker said he was against widening Whitlock Road after hearing comments from residents during the day Wednesday," is a bunch or malarkey!!!

Don't you remembering being quoted in the Marietta Daily Journal in the past on this same topic making the statement "they will widen that road over my dead body."

Don't pretend to be open minded when those who pay attention know that you are not.

Whitlock Streetscape
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June 27, 2014
Since there is going to be a 4 million dollar street-scape project, there is no way for an additional lane on Whitlock Ave. The additional lane should have been addressed years ago. The people who suffer are the residents on Whitlock who are upset from cut-through commuters on all streets and driving fast through neighborhoods. People are heading to west Cobb and Paulding County. The bottom line is the council members need to brainstorm and come up with a way to relieve traffic. How is it going to look in 5 years? Are the council members going to be still in office?
DBA2
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June 26, 2014
Chalfant's comment was so absolutely ignorant I am spitting nails as I write this. "He doesn't want to give people who DON'T live in the area a way to cut through Marietta". If he doesn't want outsiders driving through "his" precious town then he'd better propose installing iron gates with an ID check of residence. Whitlock Avenue needs to be 4 lanes from the square to John Ward Road. Wake up councilmen, Mayberry is dead and gone.
Comment4
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June 27, 2014
I agree! "A cut through," he said! The fact of the matter is Whitlock AVE is the only direct route to the 120 loop or the square if you live in west Cobb. Why is someone going to go out of the way and take even longer to reach his or her destination. People are either trying to reach I575,I75, I285, or east to go to work from Whitlock Ave.
uh the problem
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July 02, 2014
Because it slices and dices residential neighborhoods, Whitlock is just not a viable option for allowing West Cobb Paulding commuters more convenient access from the country into the city.

What's needed is the left half of the Marietta Parkway that was abandoned back in the 1970s. Loop 120 was supposed to go AROUND downtown Marietta and its neighborhoods, not terminate in the middle of them, dumping cars onto Whitlock.

Better yet, people living in the country who routinely need to go to the city can easily solve their own problems of their own creation by moving somewhere that makes more sense. You won't have the extra 1000 sq ft inside, but you will have twenty times the yard outside. You can hire a lawn guy with your gasoline savings and still come out ahead on time and money and life satisfaction.
Wes Breeding
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June 26, 2014
What happens if the State decides to widen it's road?
Dave Z
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June 26, 2014
It seems like these ideas were poorly presented in yesterday's paper, which has led to an avalanche of negativity that cannot be overcome now, even if properly presented for reconsideration.

That is a shame, because the Whitlock idea makes sense. It's not a widening, it's a repainting of the asphalt already there. This would move traffic to Burnt Hickory quicker, plus eliminate the continuous right-hand turn lanes that are an eyesore. A simple, cheap fix that would improved traffic flow.
J.E.F.
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June 26, 2014
Afternoon

For instance, Whitlock AVE and Polk ST, in the afternoon, would be one-way going west bound. Polk Street would be west bound one-way to either Mountain View or Burnt Hickory. Whitlock Ave would be one-way until after Marietta High school or even past Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield Park.Maybe add a lane to Whitlock Ave all of Whitlock AVE so residents coming east could reach his or her home. Most people are coming from the west in the morning and coming from the east in the afternoon.

Morning

Polk street would be two-way in the morning to accommodate for school traffic in morning

Additional

Make the one-way and two-way lanes during specific times of the day. Also, the hang up on Polk Street is the four stop at Cleburne Ave and Polk St. Also put a traffic light at the intersection of Winn St and Polk St.

You are right about Whitlock Ave! It has a center lane already once you reach Brookwood Dr. and adding a lane by re-painting is logical, beneficial for commuters, and cost effective. Also, there may be a way to reverse the lane for peak traffic times (morning and afternoon).

Polk street could be fixed with a 'round about' at Cleburne too.

Another idea, for instance, would be to make the traffic signal during the afternoon commute only green for west bound traffic much longer and eastbound traffic red...only problem is traffic on perpendicular streets wait time would be longer. If they knew then may alternative routes could be taken.

WestCobbResident
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June 26, 2014
What an absolutely idiotic, pompous tone-deaf statement by Chalfant! Does he even drive west of the Square? Ever? That stretch of Whitlock crawls at a snail's pace 2/3 of the day on weekdays, especially when school and/or courts are in session. Whitlock should have been widened by 2 lanes ten years ago even before the West Cobb boom and the $55M Marietta HS mausoleum was built. Whitlock is part of the state highway system and should be widened benefitting ALL of Cobb. Marietta isn't Mayberry anymore. Get with the times. Once again, "old Marietta" and the good old boy network stifles progress at the expense of half of Cobb residents. Maybe your $4M streetscape project will help us suffering residents walk to West Cobb faster!
WhitlockResident
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June 26, 2014
I find it hard to believe that you West Cobbers are suffering. You all should have plenty of money left over after buying your cheap cookie-cutter houses out there.
DBA2
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June 26, 2014
AMEN! Finally someone else with common sense! I am sick to death of the back up every morning that starts on the hill past Home Depot. Do they really think that spit of road at Kirkpatrick is going to make a bit of difference? How ridiculous! I found a new way to get by all that traffic backup in the morning. I just travel down to John Ward, take a right, turn into the first subdivision, make a u-turn and gun it back up to Whitlock. Saves me 10 minutes of sitting in traffic. I am not the only one that does this! I have had to wait in line at the entrance to make the u-turn! It won't be long before those residents start complaining, just you wait!
ToWhitlockRes
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June 27, 2014
It shouldn't matter where people live. It matters to all of Cobb residents and especially to business. People conducting business see traffic congestion as indicator to not start a business or conduct business. If someone needs to take an hour to go grab lunch off of Whitlock, but the traffic is backed due heavy flow, then he or she is likely to go elsewhere. If someone is making a timely delivery, but traffic is backed up, then he or she may miss the delivery. If there is a medical emergency, then heavy congestion may result late arrivals to hospital. So, instead of insulting people who use Whitlock, including yourself, why not voice your opinion in an educated way and be productive with it too.
On way lanes
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June 26, 2014
I can't understand why the city does not make all lanes from Marietta High School at Whitlock into Marietta one way, and then from the loop on Polk to Whitlock would be the other one way from 6-8am. They do this on Paces Ferry in Buckhead, and it works out great. There are plenty of side streets if you need to get over to Polk or Whitlock for those whom need to go in the other direction.
Traffic-Heard
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June 26, 2014
I agree! Before the city council makes any more decisions, for the good people of Marietta City and unincorporated Cobb County, they need to listen to their constituents and seek advice from professionals, common sense folk, and traffic solutions cities have incorporated.
On way lanes 2
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June 27, 2014
This is an excellent idea! This works very well in Roswell, too. This is a great alternative to keep everyone happy. Why isn't this being tossed around during council meetings?
cut out the cuts
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June 26, 2014
If you really want to move cars through Whitlock faster, cut out all the curb cuts. The reason it backs up is the people turning all over the darn place. If they could just go straight, they would not back up so much.

If it ain't a road, it should not open onto Whitlock/Dallas Hwy. If you want to go to the MacDonald's, turn onto a side street first. IF you want to go to the Kroger's, turn onto a side street first. If you want to make a left turn, let's build you a jug handle and get rid of left turn signals.

There are so many ways to move cars on through, so why do we only ever talk about stupidly adding more lanes? Don't add lanes. Remove the impediments to flow (and hint: the impediment to flow is ALL THE CARS CLOGGING THEMSELVES UP!)

We need better thinkers 'round here
DBA2
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June 26, 2014
To WHITLOCK RESIDENT: What a cheap shot! It's people like you that have absolutely no clue what it is like to have to work for a living. Did your old Marietta money buy you that pretty home on Whitlock? Cheap shot right back at you. How dare you. And what does having money left over have to do with this discussion anyway? Please.
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