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.”