Attendees at the fourth meeting for the Vinings Vision Plan were happy to hear that county officials had abandoned a proposal to make Paces Ferry and New Paces Ferry roads one-way pairs.
Mandy Elliott, a Cobb County historic preservation planner, said feedback from prior meetings and surveys was loud and clear.
“Our most negative response was the one-way pairs concept, which was an idea we proposed to help relieve the intersection at Paces Ferry and Paces Mill,” she said. “We had almost 62 percent disapproval rating from that and we heard you. That is no longer on the table and we are not considering that any further.”
The proposal presented by the county in November would have made Paces Ferry road a northbound-only thoroughfare and New Paces Ferry Road southbound-only with the option to create a cut-through between Vinings Jubilee and the Vinings Public Library.
Jason Gaines, Cobb County Department of Transportation, explained that this solution would help alleviate some of the congestion at Paces Ferry and Paces Mill roads. However, this solution could have negatively impacted fire engines and other public safety vehicles as they tried to exit Cobb County Fire Station No. 5 on Paces Ferry Road. It also limited access to residents on Paces Ferry Road and the surrounding streets and could have potentially increased cut-through traffic in Vinings Jubilee.
A second option included creating a new left turn lane at the intersection of Paces Ferry and Paces Mill road, but that would require taking right-of-way from the historic Yarbrough House. Instead, County officials proposed redrawing the lanes at the intersection of Paces Ferry and New Paces Ferry roads.
“There are three existing lanes there now,” said Dana Johnson, Cobb County’s planning division manager. “You have one lane that’s a right turn that helps people go on Paces Ferry southbound. You have a pass through lane that helps people pass through Paces Ferry onto New Paces Ferry. Then you have the one westbound lane. What we’re proposing to do is take the one middle eastbound lane and make that a westbound lane, which would become a stacking lane for that left-turning traffic. What that would do is alleviate the 74 left-turning trips happening on Paces Mill Road (during rush hour) trying to get onto Paces Ferry Road and move them up to that stacking lane. Basically we estimate it will improve trip time for people living in Vinings without increasing the capacity for cut-through traffic.”
Tuesday’s meeting signaled the end of a process aimed at creating a master plan for Vinings that began in May 2011. The first meeting presented existing conditions in Vinings and asked members of the community to examine its strengths and weaknesses. The second meeting, held in September, identified eight common themes from the input given at the first meeting. Vinings residents also participated in a design workshop where they offered solutions in keeping with the themes. At the third meeting, held in November, county staff presented draft maps and solutions based on the design workshop and collected feedback from the community.
The fourth meeting was not part of the original plan, but county officials realized it was necessary to address Vinings’s transportation issues. County officials presented several transportation solutions and collected more feedback. They will now take this input and draft the final Vinings Vision Plan, which will be available for public viewing on the Cobb County website for about 30 days. At this time changes can be made again based on citizen input.
The final Vinings Vision Plan will then be presented to the Cobb County planning and zoning commission. If approved it will go before the Cobb County board of commissioners who will decide if it becomes part of the county’s master plan. County officials estimate this process should take about three months.
“Once that happens or if that happens that’s when the implementation starts,” said Johnson. “That’s when we’ll start taking some of the transportation projects that the county can do and work it into our transportation improvement program.”
The projects included in the plan will be sorted into short-range, mid-range and long-range efforts, which will be addressed based on public need and available funds.
“Remember this is the community’s plan not just the county’s plan,” Johnson said. “The county does road improvements. The county does zoning. The county does overlay districts and things like that. There are certain things that the county doesn’t do. There are certain things like aesthetic and streetscapes and things like that that are identified in the plan process that are really going to end up being the responsibility of the community.”
A 501 (c)3 nonprofit called the Vinings Community Conservation Alliance has been formed to pick up the Vinings Vision plan where the county leaves off. Smyrna-Vinings Patch will have more details about VCCA at a later date.