U.S. 278 heading east through Avondale Estates’ business district. City goals include building a series of traffic calming devices along this corridor, including reducing 278 from five (and in places four) lanes to three. Bill Banks file photo for the AJC

GDOT gives Avondale go-ahead for studying potential road diet

In a recent meeting with the Georgia Department of Transportation, Avondale Estates was given the go ahead to continue studying a potential road diet on U.S. 278 through downtown. The determination was made after GDOT reviewed the corridor’s recent transportation counts.

“This doesn’t guarantee that we’ll get a road diet,” City Manager Patrick Bryant said. “It just means that data suggests there’s no reason to stop work on developing a road diet or any iteration of a diet.”

The city wants to re-design the three-quarter mile stretch from Ashton Place to Sams Crossing from five (and in places four) lanes to three. But long-range plans also include bike lanes, wider and better sidewalks and green infrastructure to filter storm water.

The city’s goal for a lane reduction dates to a 2013 walkability study. Initially GDOT steadfastly opposed the idea, saying a diet would slow traffic significantly along 278, a state road. Only in the past year has the department become more open to the city’s traffic calming suggestions.

City consultant Stantec Engineering is developing a comprehensive report on a possible re-design, but Bryant said there is no timetable for when that will be finished. One of Avondale’s critical goals is making its business district more accessible from all directions including the residential section south of downtown.

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