Traffic Calming Task Force
The Traffic Calming Task Force was formed to oversee implementation of traffic calming projects funded by Atlantic Station settlement in 2000.
Pat Robinson, Chair
Kevin Grady, Ex-officio
Implementation of the final phase of Traffic Calming initiatives funded by the Atlantic Station settlement is scheduled for completion in late 2016 or early 2017. This has been a long tedious process that has included countless meetings with residents, engineers, city officials and other constituencies over 15 years. Leadership of traffic calming has changed hands several times, as has the presidency of APCA. In this section of the website, you can read about the history of Traffic Calming in Ansley Park and see designs for the six sites that have been selected for the final phase. APCA will continue to look for funds to implement additional traffic calming projects.
Traffic calming and pedestrian safety efforts in Ansley Park date back to the 1960’s, but a significant initiative was launched in 2000 when APCA reached an agreement with Jacoby Development, Inc. who was building Atlantic Station. A key component of the project was a new bridge at 17th Street that connects the development to Midtown. APCA withheld support initially, due to concerns about the anticipated increase in traffic through the neighborhood. After many months of intense negotiations that included the Georgia Regional Transit Authority, Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) and the City of Atlanta, Jacoby agreed to give APCA $3.16 million for traffic calming initiatives, and APCA agreed to withdraw objections.
The terms of the agreement mandated that professional traffic studies and analyses would be conducted to identify appropriate remedial and/or preventative steps to deter “cut-through” traffic and to slow all traffic in the neighborhood. This work began with a study of external areas that resulted in several traffic calming and pedestrian safety improvements on the western side of the neighborhood in 2004. The improvements included adding an entrance onto the I-85 connector from the southbound lane of Peachtree Street, left and right turn only restrictions at Peachtree Street for east bound traffic off the I-85 connector at Rhodes Hall and at 17th Street and signage directing eastbound 17th Street traffic onto West Peachtree Street.
APCA selected Glatting Jackson, a Florida based engineering and design firm, to do the studies and design work, because of their experience in traffic calming as well as Day-Wilburn, a local engineering firm. A key concern was to maintain the historical character and curb lines of the neighborhood, while taking advantage of new safety features and technology. The resulting plan for internal modifications was extensive but unfortunately, was estimated to cost approximately $6 million. The Traffic Committee worked diligently to apply for grants that would raise the incremental $3 million.
From late 2001 through the end of 2003, the concept plan was shared with residents in over 50 street, block, intersection, town hall and small group meetings in which concerns, suggestions and other feedback were gathered. Reaching consensus was extremely difficult. At the end of 2003, a petition to confirm neighborhood support of the concept plan was circulated, and 97% of the property owners in Ansley Park who signed the petition voted in support.
From 2004 to 2006, the Traffic Committee worked with GDOT, various departments of the city, traffic engineers and designers to refine the concept plan and continued to have extensive discussions with residents about the plan. At the end of 2006, a neighborhood wide vote was held, and the Master Plan was approved.
By 2007, the recession was looming, and it was clear that the only additional grant Ansley would get was a GDOT Transportation Enhancement (TE) grant for $500,000. The TE grant was designated for traffic calming along the Peachtree Circle corridor. With no additional funds in sight, the APCA Board decided to scale back the Master Plan to fit the $3.66 million budget. In 2008, APCA hired Travis Pruitt Engineering, DPE Engineering and Tunnell and Tunnell Landscape Architects as their new traffic plan consultants. This revised plan was more limited, but it was understood that elements would be added back, if additional funds could be raised in the future.
In the summer of 2011, the first steps in implementation began. To address excessive speed issues on Beverly Road between Montgomery Ferry and Peachtree Streets and on Westminster Drive between Peachtree Circle and The Prado, speed indicator signs were installed to notify speeders when they are exceeding the speed limit. The next area to be addressed was the safety threat to pedestrians along Polo Drive, directly south of Ansley Golf Club, because there was no sidewalk. After installing the Polo sidewalk, the next phase involved better controlling the movement and lowering speeds of vehicles entering Ansley Park at the four entrances off of Piedmont Road. To accomplish this, enhanced islands and traffic medians were installed at Avery Drive, Westminster Drive, The Prado, and South Prado.
By 2013, everything was in place to tackle the most difficult component, the Peachtree Circle roundabouts, beginning with the one at The Prado. While Ansley was excited to get $500,000 from GDOT, the challenges that came with the grant were not anticipated. A stipulation of the grant was that the City would select and manage the contractor, and the City requires that all contracts they manage go to the lowest bidder. A further complication was the poor state of Ansley Park’s 100 year-old underground infrastructure. What started as a three-month project took close to a year and was plagued with cost overruns, broken pipes, diverted traffic and other complications. Part way through the project, APCA engaged Arnie Silverman of Silverman Construction Management as an advisor, because of his extensive experience in managing these types of projects with the City. Upon completion of this roundabout, the City and APCA agreed that it would be too costly and too disruptive to undertake construction of the one planned for 15th Street.
Experience has shown that the revised plan from 2008 was even much larger than the available funds. Also, APCA had spent significant money over the years on consultants and engineers in attempts to find consensus with residents. In 2015, the current Traffic Calming Task Force selected six sites from the Master Plan for the remaining funds based on their ability to improve pedestrian safety, reduce driver confusion and slow traffic.
The six sites are:
1) The intersection of The Prado, Montgomery Ferry Road and Maddox Drive
2) Montgomery Ferry Road between The Prado and Beverly Road
3) Beverly Road between Peachtree Street and the blinking light at Montgomery Ferry Road
4) The intersection of Montgomery Ferry Road and Polo Drive
5) The intersection of Beverly Road and Polo (near the first green of Ansley Golf Course)
6) The intersection of 15th Street and Peachtree Circle
In June, 2015, APCA hired Kimley Horn, a respected engineering firm that has done work for Midtown and other historic neighborhoods to update these sections of the Master Plan, based on learnings from previous projects, changes in traffic regulations and APCA’s available funds. Over the summer of 2015, meetings were held with residents in the affected areas to get their input and later, to provide feedback on the designs.
Silverman Construction Management has been hired to manage the project. Kimley Horn is preparing construction drawings and will get the necessary permits. Assuming that permits can be secured as planned (the timing of which is very difficult to predict,) construction will begin in early July, 2016.
Below are the original Master Plan and current designs for the six locations. The most significant changes are on Beverly Road. After the Master Plan was approved, the City designated the Beverly/Montgomery Ferry/Polo corridor from Peachtree Street to Monroe Drive “collector streets” and prohibited the construction of speed bumps on collector streets. The current design represents the input from the affected residents. At two locations, Montgomery Ferry/Polo and 15th/Peachtree Circle intersections, the plan has been reduced to signage and striping improvements, due to complications and limited funds.
When viewing the designs, note that the areas shown with orange hash marks will actually be grey cobble pavers. These will direct traffic but are “mountable,” and people can park on them. Examples of this treatment can be seen at the top of South Prado at Piedmont Road and around the new roundabout at The Prado/Peachtree Circle. The light grey areas on the drawing will be regular asphalt, and actually will be the same color as the rest of the street. The bright green areas will be landscaped. The yellow lines are paint and are the color required by the City.
Updates on the project and schedule will be provided in the Ansleyphile, Enews and door-to-door for affected residents during construction.
We all owe a great deal of thanks to the many people who have worked extremely hard and contributed countless hours over the years to meet the ongoing safety and traffic issues in our neighborhood.