Two days after Thanksgiving, cars filled with shoppers lined on Peachtree Road as they waited a chance to turn into Lenox Mall. Each green arrow pointing into the parking lot faced a longer line of potential shoppers.
“The general managers of both Phipps and Lenox texted me, somewhat frantically, saying there’s not enough left-turn time to get into the mall, if you’re coming off Peachtree,” Tony Peters, programs manager for the Buckhead Community Improvement District, told members of Buckhead’s NPU-B at their Dec. 5 meeting.
“A quick text went out. I wasn’t expecting a miracle, but — long story short — the gentleman we worked with who timed the traffic lights simply added 15 seconds with the stroke of an iPad.”
The ability to make such real-time adjustments to traffic signals along Peachtree Road is one of the least-visible, but most important, changes to the Buckhead artery brought about of the Peachtree Boulevard Transformation Project. The second phase of the project is nearing completion.
Noticeable aspects of the Peachtree project — such as granite curbing, bike lanes and landscaped medians – were showcased at a ribbon cutting on Dec. 11. The project has taken two years to complete.
The work was scheduled in three phases. Phase One, which stretched from Ga. 400 to a block south of Maple Drive, was completed in 2007.
Work on Phase Two, which extends north from Ga. 400 to Peachtree-Dunwoody Road, is being wrapped up this month, the CID says on its webpage. The remaining work, Peters said, includes some road striping and the installation of raised reflectors.
The third phase will cover the block from Maple Drive to Shadowlawn Avenue, the CID says.
The project should have a huge impact on days that see uncharacteristically high volumes of traffic through Buckhead, Peters said.
For instance, he said, take the Thursday night the New Orleans Saints came to town for a game at the Georgia Dome. “It’s not every day that the Falcons play the Saints on a Thursday. Ga. 400 Southbound was backed up to nearly I-285 by almost 4:45 p.m.,” Peters said. “Whenever that occurs… there’s nothing we can do.”
But by this time next year, the CID hopes to have a “flush plan” in place for major events. Such a plan would extend green-light times along Piedmont, Roswell and Peachtree in hopes of avoiding the kind of gridlock that can occur when a major event coincides with Atlanta’s rush hour.