Your Thoughts About Ashford Dunwoody Road

The Metro Atlanta transportation roundtable is in the process of winnowing down the list of transportation projects that will be proposed to be funded with a penny sales tax if you support it in a referendum that will occur next year. The purpose of this message is not to discuss the merits of the transportation sales tax. You’ll get to decide its fate with your vote in 2012. Instead, this message is aimed at discussing a particular project affecting our community.

This roundtable is comprised of the head of the county government (from DeKalb, CEO Burrell Ellis) and one mayor (from DeKalb, Mayor Bill Floyd of Decatur) from each county throughout the Metro Atlanta region. The roundtable also includes one state senator appointed by the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee and two state representatives appointed by the chairman of the House Transportation Committee, who serve in an ex officio capacity. The two state representatives are me and Sean Jerguson of Cherokee County.

Each county and city in the region was asked to submit a transportation “wish list” to the state transportation planning director, Todd Long. Mr. Long then cut the list down to a more manageable size. Click here to view an interactive map of the projects that made the cut.

Improvements to Ashford Dunwoody Road from I-285 at the north to Peachtree Road at the south were part of DeKalb County’s initial submission to Mr. Long. The proposed upgrades to Ashford Dunwoody do not include four-laning the road. Rather, we are talking about adding and lengthening turn lanes, installing sidewalks and bike paths on both sides of the road, and implementing congestion mitigation and pedestrian upgrades (i.e., useable crosswalks) at the intersection of Ashford Dunwoody and Johnson Ferry Roads.

I was surprised to find out that DeKalb County, after initially submitting the project for consideration, asked Mr. Long to take the improvements to Ashford Dunwoody Road off the list. They were replaced with a minor sidewalk project on Ashford Dunwoody from Windsor Parkway to Peachtree. DeKalb’s stated reason for this removal was “neighborhood opposition.” Mr. Long did initially take the Ashford Dunwoody improvements off the list, but has restored them at my request.

My question to you is this: Is there really neighborhood opposition to adding turn lanes and new sidewalks and bike paths on Ashford Dunwoody Road, and to improving the intersection of Ashford Dunwoody and Johnson Ferry?

This message will reach more citizens in the affected neighborhoods than any other method of communication, so I want to hear from you. Please forward this message to your neighbors and reply back to me at [email protected] If the response is positive, I am willing to go to the mat to ensure that the Ashford Dunwoody project makes the final project list for next year’s vote.

Personally, I think the project will make our community more livable and walkable and help to alleviate the perennial bottlenecks of traffic to and from Perimeter Center, pill hill (the medical centers), and Peachtree Road. It would do more to alleviate congestion and improve the quality of life for citizens than many other “wish list” projects submitted by DeKalb County.

Ultimately, however, it’s not my call. It’s yours. Congestion relief and pedestrian upgrades on Ashford Dunwoody: thumbs up or thumbs down? I’d like to hear from you on this important community issue.

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