Eleven failing intersections and rush hour gridlock cause
daily frustration for many Dunwoody residents. That’s what City Council
candidates say they have heard while campaigning and knocking on doors.
During a candidate forum, last Thursday, at Dunwoody High School, moderator Tony Thomas from WSB-TV, asked them to describe ideas that would help solve traffic problems.
“The biggest problem is coming out of the [Perimeter Community Improvement Districts] where people go home,” said Henly Shelton, who is running in District 1. “I am not for making it easier for people to get through this city.”
Traffic light synchronization was favored. Incumbent Denis Shortal said at least $2 million has been targeted for lights.
“As far as keeping people out of here, sorry I don’t think we can do that,” Shortal said. “As far as putting a third lane down the middle of Mount Vernon, I’m against that… and I’m in favor of taking it out of [the master transportation plan] because you know the old story, If you build it they will come."
Shortal added, "Continue to work the signals and continue to enhance our intersections. Remember nothing was done here for a lot years until five years ago.”
District 2 candidate Jim Riticher is against Dunwoody being a pass through community for North Fulton and Gwinnett motorists, and criticized City Council for failing to listen to residents traffic concerns.
He cited City Council’s approval of a third lane on Mount Vernon and Womack Roads. “It called for three laning from Vermack to Vernon Oaks. There was enough [outcry] that we were able to stop it,” Riticher said. “But Council didn’t listen on the front end. It’s crucial that we listen to the people. That’s where the leverage is at to be a smart city.”
Heyward Wescott is also running in District 2 and served on the Dunwoody Homeowners Association’s board of directors, which voted against three lanes to Vernon Oaks, he said.
“In addition, we voted against widening it from Dunwoody Village all the way down to Jett Ferry, making it three lanes,” Wescott said. “I think intersections are very important and I look forward to being involved in correcting them.”
District 3 candidate Sam Eads said that where the city’s transportation plan may help the Perimeter area, it means a loss of trees for neighborhoods.
The problem is the City Council is paying for engineering studies and they are using the comprehensive transportation plan as their excuse for saying, ‘Well that’s the way we are going to do it…,’ “ Eads said. “One of my problems with the intersections that they have proposed is they cost millions of dollars. Why can’t we spend a little less money on each of the intersections, and fix more of the intersections.”
District 3 incumbent Doug Thompson said there have been no bids for contracting work on any intersections. “We’ve got some in the works but none have been bid,” he said.
Thompson said, the goal for traffic problems is to stop backups on Mount Vernon and other areas of town. “Right now we’ve got 11 failing intersections in Dunwoody. We’re going to start the first one at the end of next year on North Peachtree, Tilly Mill, and Peeler…We’ve got a lot of the intersections in the pipeline. It’s taking a while to get on firm financial footing to get it done, but we’re [going to] do it.”