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March Updates from PBA President
Posted on Mar 3rd, 2019
Traffic Woes in March and Beyond
During March there will be two projects that will adversely affect traffic in our neighborhood. The first of these is part of the City’s effort to make local sewer lines more effective and less likely to spill in Atlanta Memorial Park and beyond. Starting on March 11, Howell Mill Road will be closed from Peachtree Battle to Woodley. The closure will last approximately four weeks. During that time, we can expect more traffic on Northside Drive.
The Catch 22, however, is that about the same time the Georgia Department of Transportation will begin the early phases of the project for replacing the bridge on NorthsideDrive over Peachtree Creek. Starting mid March, GDOT will begin removing trees and other vegetation on the golf course side of Northside Drive that will be in the way of the bridge project. As a result, the northbound lane of Northside will be closed for about two weeks.
Once the trees and vegetation are removed (around April 1), utilities like Georgia Power will begin relocating their poles, etc. to the east in order to be clear of the new bridges (pedestrian and vehicular). This part of the project is anticipated to last until Memorial Day and will result in closure of the northbound lane and the turn lane. In other words, Northside Drive may be reduced to one lane for much of the spring.
Switching to a longer term view, PBA, 13 neighboring civic associations and Atlanta Memorial Park Conservancy met on February 25 with representatives of GDOT and the City of Atlanta to discuss plans to mitigate the traffic disaster when Northside Drive is completely closed during the construction of the vehicular bridge. Councilman JP Matzigkeit arranged this meeting. The Northside Drive closure will last for approximately 90 days and will start during the summer of 2020. The City’s and GDOT’s planning for the closure is preliminary, and we gave them a number of suggestions to facilitate the flow of traffic during the period Northside is closed. A copy of our Memorandum can be found HERE.
We have asked for another meeting with the City and GDOT to hear the response to our suggestions. We expect to have that meeting before the end of March. We will keep you apprised of these and other developments.
One other bit of information that came out at the meeting on the 25th is that completion of the bridge and the end of the closure of Northside Drive will not be the end of our traffic woes. Brian McHugh, the GDOT representative at the meeting, advised us that there will be ongoing work on the project after the bridge is completed for up to a year afterwards. This work will undoubtedly result in more lane closures.
Adult Day Care
You may be aware that the City’s Planning Department had proposed an amendment to the zoning ordinance that would make it easier to establish adult day care facilities in the City’s residential neighborhoods. Specifically, it would allow any owner of a residence to convert the house into a facility for day care for up to six seniors who have physical or mental disabilities. These facilities would qualify for Special Use Permits under our zoning law—a significantly easier process than obtaining an exception to the existing zoning classifications. PBA supported the Peachtree Heights West and Brookwood Hills Civic Associations in their efforts to derail this ordinance. Our Councilman JP Matzigkeit also worked to keep this ordinance from passing. Their efforts were successful—at least for the first round. The ordinance has been pulled, but Nolan Leake, president of the Peachtree Heights West Civic Association predicts that the issue will arise again in the comprehensive revision of Atlanta’s zoning laws that is currently being drafted. We will be on the watch and keep you apprised.
Our Parks Committee is working on plans to improve the entrances to our neighborhood at both ends of Peachtree Battle. The initial effort has focused on the entrance at Peachtree, but the Committee has recently learned that what it had thought was a very small park at the Northsideentrance is, in fact, substantially larger. Not only does it stretch along the Path from Peachtree Battle to Sagamore, but it is also considerably deeper than the Committee had understood. All in all it encompasses more than four acres. The additional land provides opportunities to significantly improve the appearance of the Northside entrance at Peachtree Battle, and upon completion of the bridge project, we can undertake a similar improvement at the Sagamore/Woodward Way entrance.
The proposed park around the old Bobby Jones Clubhouse has taken another step toward reality. The Memorandum of Understanding for the park appears to have been completed to the satisfaction of all the parties and await execution. Work on the new park should begin around June 1.