Residents Say Intersection Plans Create More Accidents

Councilman John Paulson’s town hall meeting was very contentious, last week, as residents differed with traffic engineers on what should be done to improve the intersection at Spalding Drive and Mount Vernon Road.


Sandy Springs residents near Spalding Drive and Mount Vernon Road say traffic is an every day frustration. Councilman John Paulson calls it a failed intersection that must be improved. And officials have invited public feedback on intersection improvements.

Still, parts of Paulson’s town hall meeting was very contentious, last week, as residents differed with traffic engineers on what should be done to improve the intersection. The meeting was held at Brandon Hall School.

“I think there are a lot of strong feelings and I hope you really are listening rather than being defensive or explaining away what you hear,” said a resident to engineers. “You can’t underestimate what residents see.”

Intersection improvements are scheduled to start in late 2013 and will cost about $400,000, officials say.

Because Mount Vernon Road and Spalding Drive meet at an acute angle, the intersection is prone to accidents. There have been 17 reported crashes over the last three years. Plans include lowering the grade on Spalding Drive to create a clear sight view.

Residents said that plan turns Spalding Drive into a “super highway.”

“…Should [motorists] come through there with any speed; because they can see a sight line they are going to fly down that road,” said Lyn Cioci. “They will be doing 50-55 miles per hour by they time they hit that curve. I happen to know because I live on that curve and they come into my trees. They must come to a complete stop for speed control."

Another resident said, “Even a person turning right onto Mount Vernon is probably going to get rear-ended because they won’t see anybody, and then all of sudden somebody is going to be driving 70 miles per hour and there they are.”

Bob Mitchell was concerned about turning left on Mount Vernon Road from Spalding Drive. “When there is a line of cars coming west to east on Spalding [and they] do not have to stop because they don’t have a stop [or] yield sign, the likelihood that I will ever get on to Mount Vernon goes close to zero,” he said.

Teresa Epple, traffic engineer with Southeastern Engineering said patterns show there will be breaks in traffic to make the turn with minimal delay.

Tell us your experience driving through the Spalding Drive and Mount Vernon Road intersection.

“Engineers will look at your comments,” Paulson said to the crowd. “I agree with you. There could be potential for somebody that is hot to go, hitting this straight away thinking, ‘Now I can really fly. There is nothing in my way.’  Maybe stop signs are the way to go. Engineers will look at that.”

Police Chief Terry Sult echoed Paulson’s comments adding that he trusts the traffic engineers.

“Traffic patterns change,” he said. “We’re going to have to monitor this and just stay on top of it.”

Adrianne Murchison June 27, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Have you had a fender-bender at this intersection?
Jack Manning Jr June 27, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Most problems because people do not know how to negotiate a three or four way stop. They are unsure ( and in some cases don't care) of who should or should not proceed, which causes back ups, hesitation and frustration. Same problem is present at Dunwoody Club and Jett Ferry and Spalding and Jett Ferry intersections. Absent electronic signals to indicate right of way not sure of a viable solution.
Anne Allen June 27, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Lowering the road is a great idea! I cannot tell you how many times I have tried to turn left off Mt. Vernon onto Spalding and had someone come up over the hill to my left, totally unaware there is a stop sign there and screeching on their brakes to avoid hitting me. EVEN with one of those "pre-stop" signs to warn them! Not having a stop sign or traffic light at this intersection is a huge mistake. It is so easy when heading on Spalding from Jett Ferry to Mt. Vernon to build up speeds of 60 mph and more. I have been guilty of this myself and was stunned to look down and see how fast I was going. As things stand right now, the stop sign at the corner of Spalding and Mt. Vernon for those heading west on Spalding tends to be largely ignored. It does slow people down a little, but that is all. During morning traffic when I try to exit out of Deerfield subdivision on Redbourne turning left onto Mt. Vernon, there is a constant stream of traffic coming from Spalding. It is obvious that the folks turning onto Mt. Vernon from Spalding do not come to a complete stop as there is rarely a break in the traffic for me to exit my neighborhood. This points to the need for a light at the Mt. Vernon /Spalding intersection.
Nayef H. Haddad June 30, 2012 at 09:34 AM
When I was in charge of transportation in Fulton County, I changed this intersection to an All Way Stop mainly to regulate traffic at the intersection. Even though a traffic signal is warranted at this intersection, it will be a huge mistake to put one. It will change Spalding Drive from a minor collector to a major collector by inviting more cars on it that normally take other paths now like Dunwoody Club. I had to fight the Ga Department of Transportation for years from doing major improvements to it, because their plans were to put more traffic on it by making it and that portion of Mount Vernon a major artery. DO NOT make the mistake of doing major improvements to this intersection, let's keep Spalding Drive to mainly serve the residents of that district and not invite additional outside traffic. We can live with the rush hour traffic for one hour in the morning, we are already used to it and we plan around it. This is the road I have been using on my daily commute for the last nine years. My goodness, if we do not know how to turn and act on an All Way Stop we should not be driving a car. The problem is the speeding on Spalding Drive after the intersection, and that's what we need to tackle, not the intersection.


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