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Traffic Management Program Working: How’s Your Drive?

The Perimeter Traffic Operations Program started in 2012 with a focus on three major roadways - Ashford Dunwoody Road, Perimeter Center West/Abernathy, and Peachtree Dunwoody Road, and then tied in other streets.

Yvonne Williams, President and CEO of the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts
Yvonne Williams, President and CEO of the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts

A pilot traffic management program is already paying off, according to Yvonne Williams, CEO of the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts.

Before a presentation to Dunwoody City Council, Monday, Williams said the Perimeter Traffic Operations Program started in 2012 with a focus on three major roadways - Ashford Dunwoody Road, Perimeter Center West/Abernathy, and Peachtree Dunwoody Road – has already shown a 40 percent improvement in traffic flow and more 200,000 hours saved in vehicle travel time. Part of those improvements are a result of the completed Diverging Diamond Interchange.

How has your commute been through the Perimeter area in recent months, especially during rush hour? Tell us in the comments below.


“This is going to have a national connotation of what works well when you find innovative solutions to projects and deliver them in three years vs. 30 years." Williams said.

Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, and Brookhaven, along with the PCIDs and Dekalb County are participants in PTOP, which was funded by the Georgia Department of Transportation for $2.78 million. 

Alvin James of Kimley Horn explained that program traffic signals were retimed, and infrastructure upgrades were made at 99 traffic lights with the goal of moving people from one point to another faster. They started with Ashford Dunwoody Road, Perimeter Center West/Abernathy, and Peachtree Dunwoody Road and worked out from those corridors, he said. 

The beauty of PTOP is how it’s monitored remotely, he added. Cameras are located throughout the participating cities to monitor and address traffic problems. PTOP’s hub is located at the Sandy Springs Traffic Management Center in the City Hall complex, but technicians can retime signals from wherever they are.

So far Sandy Springs has 13 cameras online that can be monitored remotely. Dunwoody and Brookhaven are scheduled to have eight online in the next year.

“One of the challenges that we face in this area is that there are some capacity constraints. When I-285 shuts down, Ga. 400 shuts down, everything shuts down,” James said. “But if there are issues on Ashford Dunwoody and we have the ability to [fix them]…Having this system online provides us with the ability to actively manage that [traffic patterns] and make changes.”

Tell us if you’ve experienced a noticeable improvement in your commute. 

Henry Orvin September 11, 2013 at 10:57 PM
Diverging Diamond is a great improvement. I have been going through that intersection for 30 years and there was a difference as soon as the bridge reopened. Ashford Dunwoody inside of the Perimeter is still a huge problem; it needs to be widened!
James Tola September 12, 2013 at 09:08 AM
The Diverging Diamond Interchange is a welcome relief! Gwinnett Place CID completed the DDI at Pleasant Hill and one is under construction at Jimmy Carter. This may prove to be one of the best traffic relief remedies short of better mass transit. Now if Dunwoody can figure out how to address the Perimeter College traffic debacle on Tilly Mill at the traffic light of North Peachtree. James Tola Keller Williams Realty
Charles Chambers September 12, 2013 at 10:02 AM
Personally, I wait 8 minutes or so each morning to cross Chamblee-Dunwoody Road from Cotillion Drive, an East-West road paralleling I-285 to enter I-285. I also wonder just how bad the Roberts Drive-Chamblee Dunwoody Road -- Pitts Road -- a Hell's triangle -- can get at rush hour before youthful entrepreneurs begin to sell coffee and donuts to the parked drivers. There would seem to have been a pretty resolute intention on the part of Dunwoody residents as a group to keep Mount Vernon Footpath as it passes through Dunwoody a) down at two lanes and b) with absolute bare minimum of turning lanes at intersections. Adding turning lanes at intersections would alleviate backups during red lights to an extent while keeping the remainder of the road at two lanes. Neither widening nor turning lanes are much in evidence around the city. Further, if you look at a map, Tilly Mill as it approaches North Peachtree goes East-West, not North-South. The tony towns in southwest Connecticut have also elected not to create robust East-West secondary roads to parallel I-95 and the Merritt Parkway, with breath-taking results -- for half the day it takes over an hour by any route to go east from Darien to Stamford, just as few miles as the crow flies. So I would pose a tougher question than picking on the five minute backup, a relatively short one for Dunwoody, on one stretch of Tilly Mill. Where are the smartly improved secondary roads that pass through Dunwoody? About a week ago, parked at rush hour while trying to go north on Chamblee Dunwoody on Chamblee-Dunwoody Road as it approached Mount Vernon Footpath, I rolled down my window to ask a jogger how she stood the traffic each day. She replied that she was retired, so rush hour traffic didn't affect her. (She didn't need to breathe while jogging, apparently.) This struck me as a most practical strategy under the circumstances, so long as so few traffic accommodations are made for where Dunwoody, like it or not, sits on the map. Dunwoody is hardly alone. Not only are our interstate's parking lots for half the day, but so are all the inadequate secondary roads nearby.

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