Sandy Springs Mayor Eva Galambos told transportation officials at a Sept. 21 forum that the Atlanta Regional Roundtable’s list of transportation projects is flawed and needs to include the widening of Hammond Drive in Sandy Springs.
But not everyone in the audience was behind her effort to get the project added to the list.
The Atlanta Regional Roundtable’s executive committee approved a list of $6.14 billion in projects that would be funded by a regional penny sales tax. The Roundtable is hosting forums around the Atlanta region, and held the Sept. 21 meeting at the North Fulton Service Center in Sandy Springs. Several dozen people attended the event, but the format ruled out long speeches and loud demonstrations, though people occasionally talked over each other. People submitted questions that were answered by John Crocker, director of development and regional coordination for MARTA; Matthew Fowler, Assistant Planning Administrator for the Georgia Department of Transportation; John Orr, senior transportation planner at the Atlanta Regional Commission; and Emil Runge, senior policy administrator for Fulton County.
Galambos told the group of transportation officials assembled by the Roundtable that much of the project list concerns north-south routes. She said Hammond Drive is a major east-west route in the city.
“We have a two-lane bottleneck that needs to be fixed,” Galambos said.
After her comments, Galambos said that the cost of one project on the list – adding collector and distributor lanes to improve traffic flow on Georgia 400 – is inflated. The project is estimated to cost $200 million, but Galambos said the GDOT already has the right of way it needs.
“These are state projects that take the air out of projects for Sandy Springs because they happen to be in Sandy Springs,” she said.
Fowler said some of the right of way for the project has been purchased. But he disagreed that the costs are inflated.
“Based on what we know, we feel comfortable with the cost estimates,” he said.
Dick Farmer, who spoke after Galambos, lives near Hammond Drive and said people around Hammond Drive spoke out against including that project on the list.
“All modern city planning works to remove vehicular traffic,” Farmer said. “(Widening) Hammond Drive would invite cut-through traffic. Be careful what you ask for.”
Another resident, Steve Tart who also serves on the Sandy Springs Planning Commission, spoke in support of widening the road.
The Atlanta Regional Roundtable will host its DeKalb County meeting on Sept. 28 at 6 p.m. at Manuel Maloof Auditorium. The Roundtable will finalize the list by Oct. 15.