At Issue: How much should Peachtree City pay to improve traffic?

A series of traffic modifications is being proposed to alleviate congestion at Peachtree City’s busiest intersection. Jill Howard Church for the AJC

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A series of traffic modifications is being proposed to alleviate congestion at Peachtree City’s busiest intersection. Jill Howard Church for the AJC


Last week: Will more roundabouts solve traffic issues for Gwinnett motorists?

Traffic is always a hot topic in Gwinnett, so much so county leaders are kicking off the GR8 Exchange on Transportation, a week long conversation next week about transportation solutions.

Last week we asked readers to weigh in on a growing trend to convert busy intersections in Gwinnett to roundabouts. Gwinnett DOT officials say they are safer, more efficient and cost less to maintain and operate.

One potential drawback – roundabouts require a bigger footprint. Single lane roundabouts vary with inscribed circle diameters of 90 feet to 180 feet.

Two new roundabouts are already approved for construction to begin in Snellville along Pharrs Road. Peachtree Corners is evaluating several intersections as possible roundabouts.

Readers had lots to say about the topic and are encouraged to continue the conversation by participating in the GR8 Exchange on Transportation using the hashtag: #thegr8exchange. Information: www.thegr8exchange.com.

Here is what some readers had to say:

Roundabouts are a no-brainer. They reduce accidents and traffic flows more smoothly. The fact that many folks here are not used to them is an insufficient reason for rejection. In England, where roundabouts are common, there are major, multi-lane intersections with large roundabouts, and intersections that here would be served by four stop signs (sometimes with merely a painted circle in the middle of the road). It all works. — Karl Terrell

In smaller towns, yes. But to put more in Gwinnett, where the county is growing more into a metro area, would defeat the purpose. The highway overpasses on Pleasant Hill and Jimmy Carter are very confusing to newer drivers and I can only see more traffic accidents growing. — John Wall

Please, please, please, more roundabouts! My daily route takes me through two roundabouts, N. Decatur Road by Emory University, and the improvement in traffic flow has been exponential. The only problem, and it's relatively minor, are motorists who are unfamiliar with them. Apparently, these drivers can't differentiate between "stop" signs, of which there are none, and "yield." I would love to see one at Briarcliff and N. Druid Hills Road, even as busy as that intersection is, it would greatly improve the traffic flow. — Pat Morris

‪I love them, especially during non-traffic hours. There's nothing worse than sitting at a traffic light waiting for it to turn green when no one else is even around. It would require education on proper usage. ‪ — Brian Jones

No, because people here do not know how to use them! — ‪Ashley Ruiz

I love roundabouts, but people around here cannot even navigate the one in my subdivision. They try to drive the opposite way to circumvent driving the whole circle. So, no! — ‪Stephany Shinpock

Yes. They eliminate the need for stop signs in light traffic, two-lane intersections. Drivers do need to be educated regarding their proper use. — ‪Ted Asher

Better traffic light timers would help a great deal. As the current ones hinder traffic more than helping it. — Rob Van Dam

They work well in Europe, but I'm not sure Atlanta drivers have the correct mindset and courtesy to use them as they should be used. — ‪Sandra Korschgen

‪After living in another country with roundabouts and few traffic lights, I say no. It requires everyone following the rules of the road and respectfully merging. One accident in the roundabout shuts the whole thing down and stops traffic in all directions — not good. It also does not work well at large intersections. It might work at smaller intersections but drivers would need to be educated how to use them. — Pamela Higgins

‪The one in Duluth works remarkably well. Except for the folks who come to a dead stop for five seconds and yield to allow folks to enter the roundabout. — John Sukroo

— Karen Huppertz for the AJC

Peachtree City’s intersection of Ga. Highways 74 and 54 has long been ground zero for traffic jams. Commuters and shoppers passing between Fayette and Coweta counties spend many an aggravating wait to get through the signal lights, especially on Highway 54 (Floy Farr Parkway) during rush hours and on Saturdays.

Many Peachtree City residents avoid The Avenue, Home Depot, Walmart and other retail sites during peak traffic times, and cars often back up in the shopping center parking lots. Residents in the Planterra Ridge subdivision report feeling trapped by commuter traffic.

With even more residential and retail development underway along MacDuff Parkway and Line Creek Drive, the city is accelerating plans to alter traffic flow and reduce congestion, even if, as Interim City Manager Jon Rorie recently told the city council, some improvements may only be measured in seconds gained, not minutes.

But nearly all residents agree more needs to be done, and soon. The question is, how much should the city spend on traffic measures that might offer only modest improvement?

Depending on the project, some of the road work will be paid for by the state, some by the city, and some by private developers. Short-term projects will cost several hundred thousand dollars, while longer-term modifications will cost millions.

Construction itself will cause further traffic disruption.

So tell us, what’s the cost-benefit limit?