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PCID leader: Transportation key to economic success
by Savannah Weeks
January 28, 2013 06:43 PM | 1434 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Yvonne Williams
Yvonne Williams
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At Monday’s Sandy Springs Rotary Club meeting, Yvonne Williams, CEO of the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts, relayed that transportation improvement was at the helm of success in the Perimeter area and its surrounding communities, such as Dunwoody and Sandy Springs.

The self-taxing organization of businesses has spearheaded many transportation improvement projects over the years that have increased traffic flow in the area, one of those projects being the Diverging Diamond Interchange at Interstate 285 and Ashford Dunwoody Road, which Williams said resulted in a 15 to 20 percent reduction in delay during peak commute times in the evening.

“This interchange has been copied in five other interchanges in Georgia,” said Williams.

The PCIDs invested $100,000 in the interchange and received an $800,000 grant. Williams said the return on investment for the project is 49:1.

Williams said the area has the potential for 35,000 more jobs or 35 percent job growth in the next five years. That means the potential for 6.9 million square feet of new office space, 9,377 new housing units, 1.1 million square feet of retail space and 1,700 new hotel rooms.

In order to maximize this potential, the PCIDs established the Livable Centers Initiative and are currently working on the Perimeter Traffic Operations Program and the 285 at 400 Interchange Partnership.

The traffic operations program will work across jurisdictions to establish a region-wide traffic system that can control traffic lights and other variables across cities and counties.

The Georgia Department of Transportation awarded a $2.78 million grant to PCIDs and the cities of Dunwoody and Sandy Springs to work on traffic management throughout the area, according to Williams.

Williams said the 285/400 interchange was the group’s priority project and essential to economic growth.

The CEO also said the location of MARTA stations was a huge consideration for companies looking to relocate to the Perimeter area.

However, Bill Snellings, a Rotary member who works in the area very near a MARTA station, said only one person out of his office’s 45 employees takes MARTA to work.

“I think in terms of a place to work it [the Perimeter area] will continue to grow, but as a place to live, that will continue to be a challenge,” he said.
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