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Traffic concerns regarding city center addressed
by Savannah Weeks
October 30, 2012 08:19 PM | 1385 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Boston-based Goody Clancy, along with the city of Sandy Springs, hosted a transportation community meeting regarding Sandy Springs’ city center downtown development at City Hall Oct. 30.

Company spokesman Ben Carlson presented a plan for transportation, parking, greenspace and more, based upon research from design firm Kimley-Horn.

“Kimley-Horn’s approach is about creating more choices,” said Carlson. “Roswell Road doesn’t have a lot more capacity for vehicles. We want to create a way for people to take more trips on foot or by bike and transit use.”

The mixed-use development vision Goody Clancy has for the city center would call for about 1,950 new housing units over the next 10 to 15 years, about 150,000 square feet of pedestrian-oriented retail space, about 113,500 square feet of small-format office space and about 90 hotel rooms, according to research performed by Kimley-Horn.

In terms of how this will affect traffic, Carlson said there will be an impact, but the firm hopes to deflect some of this with alternate routes and the encouragement of foot and bicycle traffic.

“Overall, the main impacts are going to be on the east-west corners, which are Mount Vernon [Highway] and Hammond [Drive],” said Carlson.

Based on a study conducted by Kimley-Horn, Roswell Road will still remain congested with traffic, Mount Vernon will go from about 60 percent traffic volume capacity to 75 percent, with Hammond's traffic congestion not increasing or decreasing. Sandy Springs Circle, however, will still be capable of handling more traffic after the city center is developed, according to Carlson.

He said a mixed-use development, which also would have residential properties, will not create as much traffic at peak times as a traditional retail development would.

“This mixed-use approach disperses trips across a broader time period and range of streets,” said Carlson. “We think a mixed-use approach will bring greater economic value to the city center.”

One proposal offered by Kimley-Horn to deflect some of the traffic on Mount Vernon is to create two roundabouts, or a “roundabout bowtie” at Johnson Ferry Road and Mount Vernon.

“This plan really gets into more of talking about a grid effort,” said Kimley-Horn representative Jeff Smith. “To create a place where residents can move around the city easier without having to move with regional traffic.”

This grid network would create 400 foot-long city blocks with a “park once” plan that would encourage street parking. Greenspace would separate pedestrian pathways from the road. Carlson also threw out the possibility of a shuttle loop that will connect to the MARTA line. The shuttle would come through the city center, down Hammond back to Roswell Road.

What’s Next: Goody Clancy will present the final plan to the city council at its Nov. 6 meeting.

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