If your daily commute includes being stuck at the intersection of Windy Hill Road and Cobb Parkway you may think it is one of the worst in the metro area—and you’d be right. Fox 5 named the top five worst traffic intersections in Metro Atlanta and Windy Hill/Cobb Parkway was first on the list.
Cheryl White, Fox’s SKYFOX traffic expert, said she sometimes sees cars back up at the intersection for up to three miles. Other Metro Atlanta intersections named to the list include Peachtree Street and Piedmont Road in Midtown, U.S. Highway 78 and East Park Place in Stone Mountain, Georgia Highway 316 and Georgia Highway 20 in Lawrenceville and Mount Zion Boulevard and Southlake Parkway in Jonesboro.
The Atlanta Regional Commission reported that Metro Atlantans have the fourth worst commute in the country and that it will only get worse as the area continues to grow.
“We are forecast to grow another three million people by the year 2040 — that’s equivalent to the entire state of Arkansas,” Jane Hayse, division chief of transportation planning for the ARC, told Fox 5.
However, ARC representatives think the proposed Transportation Investment Act that goes to the polls July 31 will have an impact on traffic congestion in the region. If approved, the act would impose a one-cent sales tax collected over 10 years that would fund a list of transportation projects created by the Atlanta Regional Roundtable, a group of 21 local elected officials.
If approved, 85 percent of the tax will go to projects selected by the roundtable, with the remaining 15 percent being spent locally. The tax would go into effect January 2013 and expire December 2023. See here for the final report of the $6.14 billion list of transportation projects that were adopted by the roundtable.
Earlier this month ARC released an analysis of the referendum’s projected travel impacts. According to the analysis the projects would:
- Achieve a 24 percent average decrease in future travel delays for roadways, improved through road widening, new construction and improved interchanges.
- Increase daily transit trips to 580,000, compared to 417,000 trips today.
- Improve air quality equal to taking 72,000 vehicles off the roads daily.
- Enable 18 percent more workers to reach jobs in the Cumberland-Galleria area by car within 45 minutes, and up to an eight percent increase in jobs accessibility in other key employment centers.
- Achieve a 700 percent increase in workers’ ability to reach the Emory/Clifton Corridor by bus or rail within 45 minutes. Other employment centers also experience increase in accessibility, such as Southlake (42 percent) and Town Center (61 percent).
However, not everyone agrees. State Rep. Rich Golick told Smyrna-Vinings Patch .
“The project list developed by the Atlanta Regional Roundtable fails to deliver on reducing traffic congestion, and the project list does not deliver value to the taxpayer,” he told Smyrna-Vinings Patch in an email. “It looks more like an economic development initiative than a traffic congestion initiative.”
Lawmakers may disagree on a solution to traffic congestion, but they don’t deny that it’s a problem for Metro Atlanta.
that he thinks improving metro Atlanta’s transportation infrastructure will increase worker productivity and time spent at the workplace that otherwise would have been spent commuting, he said.
The economy of the region is also negatively impacted when companies don’t consider locating to Atlanta because of traffic.
“We have no idea how many businesses are out there that are considering relocating that the CEO says, ‘Hey, I hear Atlanta traffic is terrible. Let’s not even consider Atlanta,’” Leithead said. “That economic impact is impossible to study because we don’t know how often that happens, but we know it happens (…) We have no idea how often that’s happening, but we think it’s killing us.”