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POLL: What Are Your Thoughts on the Atlanta Road Medians?

The Livable Centers Initiative Atlanta Road Median Project was designed to make the corridor safer for pedestrians, but some think the medians make the road more dangerous for drivers.

Construction continues on the Atlanta Road corridor between Fleming Street and Spring Road/Concord Road as contractors work to complete the . that the project is about 50 percent complete. But some Smyrna residents have raised concerns that the medians make Atlanta Road less safe for drivers. 

, Council Representative Teri Anulewicz said the medians were designed to make the corridor safer for pedestrians. When the project is complete, the medians will be landscaped because a LCI study found that drivers slow down on landscaped corridors, she said.

At the meeting, Karen Douglas said the medians have made it impossible to turn out of her Ward 3 neighborhood.

“There have to be four lanes of traffic clear and I’ve seen near misses several times,” she said. “We didn’t even know our neighborhood was going to be shut.”

Anulewicz said she thought the medians would take time to get used to, but once drivers had changed their habits they would have fewer concerns.

Smyrna’s Ward 6 City Council Representative Wade Lnenicka said he’s heard complaints from residents of his ward and others that the cuts in the median aren’t big enough to accommodate turning traffic.

“They’re concerned with the median design that there’s not enough room in heavy traffic times,” he said. “For instance at the entrance into the Village Green at Powder Springs Street people used to look for a gap in southbound traffic and then pull out into the center turn lane and wait for a gap in the northbound traffic.”

Lnenicka said the current median design doesn't allow for drivers to merge into the middle of the road to wait out a break in the traffic. Instead, they have to wait till all four lanes are clear in both directions. This is something he thinks Council should discuss as a whole.

“I think Council needs to talk about the issue and come to a consensus that in fact there is an issue,” he said. “It’s my opinion that there’s an issue. I see what the citizens are telling me, but I don’t know how the rest of the Council feels about it and the Council hasn’t discussed it as an issue.”

What do you think about the Atlanta Road medians? Have you learned which streets no longer permit left turns? Do you think they’ve helped to slow down traffic? Do you feel safer walking on Atlanta Road? Tell us in the comments.

Sydney Busby (Editor) June 08, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Here's a comment someone left on the Smyrna-Vinings Patch Facebook page: In circa 2009 Cobb County passed a "Complete Street" policy, whereas they are supposed to take into consideration ALL users of the roads, including pedestrians & bicyclists. I see no improvement or accommodation for bicyclists and would like to see the county follow their policies. http://www.bikecobb.org/cobb-completestreets
Smyrna Resident June 08, 2012 at 07:17 PM
I agree with Wade. Turing left onto Atlanta road from powder springs is extremely hard to do. How hard will it be when there are trees or large shrubs in your view of oncoming north traffic.
anryms June 09, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Good idea but poor execution. I forsee a lot of accidents occuring at Powder Springs/Atlanta Rd. When heading north on Atlanta Road at 45+ mph its like pulling into a nascar pitbox to make the left turn onto Powder Springs not to mention if 3cars are already trying to turn you are going to be stuck out in the road causing traffic and I am guessing its by design why I dont know but they obviously dont want people to turn left out of Powder Springs to head north on Atlanta. Also did they take into account the additional traffic cars/busses the new school will add just north because they didnt give them much room to turn off atlanta rd either. Again medians will be nice but if they cause accidents and clog up downtown Smyrna with more traffic I cant see many people being pleased. Its all about execution!
Paul Smyrna June 09, 2012 at 10:49 AM
If these medians were similar to the ones on Spring Road or Windy Hill Road then there wouldn't be an issue (or much of one). However, there is no room for traffic turning left at any break to stack up. One example is at Flemming Street, where buses turn all the time and now there is barely room for one bus. The left turning traffic is going to back up into the left travel lane causing more traffic backup. However, the cars that Mr. Lnenicka mentioned that would turn left into the center lane to wait to merge were violating the law. Change the breaks in the median to like Spring and Windy Hill and the problem will be solved.
Duncan June 09, 2012 at 12:01 PM
"What do you think about the Atlanta Road medians?" This is truly "Closing the gate after the cows got out..."; what kind of question is this? The medians are built (for the most part); are we now supposed to offer suggestions that won't be heeded but if they were it would add more expense in 'remodeling' said 'avenue abortions'? HmMpH!!!!
Lissa K. June 09, 2012 at 12:05 PM
I think Smyrna should change its name to FUBAR.
Smyrna Family June 09, 2012 at 01:16 PM
Everybody wants the same thing -- a safe, attractive roadway that will serve all needs. The overall concept is great and once the town planners implement the needed adjustments surely both pedestrians and drivers will find the changes workable. This can work. It seems that there are two 'hot spots' that need a second look. Okay, so let's do it then. Sure a perfect implementation is ideal but at this stage (50%) it is NOT illogical to make adjustments and forge ahead. Let's move forward shall we?
Millie Lochridge June 09, 2012 at 02:44 PM
it is not too late to stop construction of the median south of Spring/Concord Road. As a business owner on the stretch of Atlanta Road between Concord and Paces Ferry, we anticipate problems as our clients (50-100 per day) enter and exit our driveway, most likely attempting to use the median cut which is planned near (but not directly in front) of our driveway. For those coming from the south to businesses or homes in this stretch, the median will force these cars into the already congested Atlanta Road / Spring?Concord intersection, at which time they must then make a U-turn? turn left on Concord and cut back through the BP station?The existing turning lane is safe, wide enough for cars turning both directions, and would encourage rather than discourage new business or housing development in that area.
Mike June 09, 2012 at 03:00 PM
GA seems to think medians solve traffic issues. They don't. Also its going to have an affect on people who run/walk since the perception to people will be the cars are closer and going faster. Development in America for the most part is done very wrong. I mean here they are trying to improve the looks of Atlanta Rd with medians then the council allows a developer to build rear facing homes on Atlanta Rd across Campbell middle. There is no method to the madness, no true planning. The medians work better on Spring Rd b/c it was planned slightly better and on one side of Spring Rd there is greenspace between the walking trails and the roads. Going to the future, imagine now Jonquil Plaza complete and all the additional traffic it will bring now with medians at all sides. While medians do provide some beautification especially for non-residents, to residents they can become a constant reminder of being a PITA.
SmyrnaCitizen June 09, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Pedestrians should only be crossing Atlanta Road in the crosswalks (W. Spring St. and Concord Road) which begs the question... who thinks the medians will help pedestrians? If anything, it will make pedestrian crossing at W. Spring St. worse as northbound traffic that used to exit on Powder Springs will now go through the Market Village. The medians are creating dangerous traffic situations at several side streets (Powder Springs and Fleming, in particular). I completely agree that the bus situation at Fleming will be much worse this coming school year with the opening of the new elementary school. This is a perfect example of projects approved in a SPLOST a decade ago that are no longer relevant. I would not make these kinds of expenditures with money in my home and the government should not spend my money on these types of dangerous projects. It is also a perfect example of why the current TSPLOST should be defeated.
Bruce June 09, 2012 at 08:27 PM
OK folks, here is a perfect example of government messing with something that worked and making it unworable. I have to wonder if all this redo is about safety or if it is really about spending our tax money to make contractors and buddies of politicians and bureaucrats richer. You can vote NO to the 10 year sales tax for theTransportation Investment Act (TIA/ TSPLOST) July 31, 2012 and save us $8.5 billion in the Atlanta metro region and $18.5 billion statewide.
Inside-Out June 09, 2012 at 09:10 PM
I agree in regards to the rear facing homes facing Atlanta road. The council has already allowed this in the past, On Atlanta road on the East side of the road before Spring road. We improved Atlanta Road then bult condos that have the rear facing it. Nothing like the nice view of people back porches with their mops hanging off the side and their trash piled up. This was ridiculous then and now to even consider doing it again. And I agree with the fact that left turning traffic on Atlanta Road will clog an entire travel lane and make traffic worse. It will look better but it will do nothing to improve traffic. You will notice that no median was built between Church street and Spring road. During rush hours now it is clogged up. It is only going to get worse folks.
Curious Neighbor June 11, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Very poorly executed. I live in the neighborhood and EVERY time I'm pulling out to turn left going north or am coming home and have to pull into one of the short medians, or wait my turn if there are other cars there already, I am afraid of stopping the traffic in the main lane (hoping they see me and stop!!!!) or that there won't be enough space to sit in the tiny center lane until I can finish crossing the other two lanes. I love trees, and want more green...but this plan for drivers and residents is awful.
nawchamama June 11, 2012 at 05:19 PM
ABSOLUTELY HATE IT. the medians have narrowed the turn areas, have blocked left (north) turns from Wells Fargo and police department - what??? "once drivers had changed their habits they would have fewer concerns" - do drivers have to change how they drive in order to tolerate the inconveniences - drivers will complain less when they become more stupid??
Brian June 13, 2012 at 04:13 AM
I'm for the medians. It's just sad that we can't get them on S. Cobb Dr as well. I think that long-term, there may need to be some U-turn loops built in various areas like can be found in the New Jersey East Philly and Wilmington areas.
Bruce June 13, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Yeah, Brian, like I want to imitate New Jersey and East Philly. Man!
Brian July 03, 2012 at 01:49 AM
Sydney - the bike path is being extended.
Sydney Busby (Editor) July 03, 2012 at 12:27 PM
Hi Brian, This was a comment left by someone on our Facebook page, but thanks for clearing that up for them.
Steve March 29, 2013 at 01:26 AM
I do think medians are a waste of tax dollars and they make things worse rather than better; however, I love the huge sidewalks. Why can't we have more sidewalks in the old neighborhoods so I can ride my bicycle out to Atlanta Road without worrying about getting hit by a car in my neighborhood? I realize it would be expensive and difficult because the old roads are narrow and the city would have to purchase the land in front of everyone's houses, but at least our tax dollars would be spent on something useful.

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