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Sandy Springs District 1 at crossroads over intersection
by Noreen Lewis Cochran
September 06, 2012 12:42 PM | 1499 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
District 1 residents seemed stymied Wednesday by the sole option presented to them by the city of Sandy Springs for improving the Spalding Drive-Mount Vernon Road intersection sometime in spring 2014 — by replacing a three-way stop with a traffic signal and a yield sign.

Speaking at Brandon Hall School, where District 1 City Councilman John Paulson’s June town hall meeting included the topic, resident Les Gurvey opposed the $1 million project dubbed T-39.

“This intersection is a waste of money and time,” Gurvey said to applause from some of the 60 attendees. “That yield sign is going to create more accidents than you’ve ever seen.”

However, his suggestions to remedy a blind spot by flattening a hill and installing a traffic signal are already in the proposed plan, according to Public Works Director Kevin Walter.

“We designed the intersection to make a balance of all those concerns,” Walter said about safety, sight distance, congestion, pedestrian access and minimal impact on neighborhoods.

Linda Doherty said she may be the most impacted resident of all, as part of her Hunters Wood Drive yard may join T-39, and she supports changing a dangerous corner.

“That stop sign is a California stop sign,” she said about a notice many motorists fail to observe as they head west on Spalding Drive. “If the police were there, we could get a lot of revenue to build this road.”

Walter said public feedback helped craft T-39, which Paulson said is still open to discussion as its projected start date is not until this spring.

“A number of the scenarios you’ve talked about, [our] staff has looked at and rejected because of cost or because it doesn’t solve the problem,” Paulson said. “It’s not a done deal but we’re getting closer.”

Assistant City Manager Bryant Poole, a former Georgia Department of Transportation district engineer, said he had confidence in public works’ actions and those of Marietta-based traffic consultant Southeast Engineering.

“You’ve got an excellent staff here. Their job is to engineer what is the best for the citizens and that’s what they’ve done,” he said. “Whether you agree or understand, that’s part of the discussion, but they have diligently done everything they can to address everyone’s concerns.”

The city council approved T-39 funding in July 2011.

The notice to bid may be as early as January, according to city spokesman Dan Coffer.

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