Allen Johnson, the city’s TSPLOST manager, discusses the project with residents at an Oct. 4 public meeting. (Evelyn Andrews)

Sandy Springs proposed concepts for a multi-use path, sidewalk and center lane on Mount Vernon Highway at an Oct. 4 public meeting, where some residents voiced a desire to see the project’s orientation flipped due to property-taking concerns. The project is expected to need some residential property under the current plan.

The project is funded by the special transportation tax and is intended to provide walkability and last-mile connectivity to the Sandy Springs MARTA Station. The concept presented at the meeting would add 6-foot-wide sidewalks on the north side of Mount Vernon and 10- to 12-foot-wide sidewalks on the south side, running from Vernon Trace to just north of Abernathy Road.

Design and right of way acquisition is expected to take up the three years. For the full concept illustration, click here.

The project also feeds into the Georgia Department of Transportation’s Mount Vernon bridge project, which is widening the road from two to four lanes, and is adjacent to the city project remaking Mount Vernon’s intersection with Johnson Ferry Road.

The wider path would be better on the more commercially-dominated side of the street, where the sidewalk is currently planned, rather than the residential side, some residents said at the meeting, which was held in the Studio Theatre at City Springs.

“The south side has potential to infringe more on residents’ property,” one resident said.

The city chose to put the wider path on that residential side because it would be more accessible to residents living in the single-family homes and condos along that street, Allen Johnson, the city’s TSPLOST manager, said. They are trying to minimize right of way acquisition as much as possible, he said.

But some residents said they would prefer to cross the street to access the path rather than it eat into more of their property.

The project would also add turn lanes onto Mount Vernon from Glenridge Drive, Barfield Road, Crestline Parkway, Peachtree-Dunwoody Road and Abernathy Road, according to a meeting handout.

A center turn lane would create done the length of the project on Mount Vernon, providing refuge for merging cars, Johnson said.

In some places, there is enough space to accommodate adding the center lane, but in other spots the road would need to be widened, Joe Gillis, a TSPLOST project manager, said.

The center turn lane also adds flexibility for possible future transit projects, Gillis said.

Peter Costa, a Mount Vernon resident, said he would prefer the city not do the project at all because he is afraid it would draw more vehicle and pedestrian traffic, and would also may need some of his property.

“I think it has too much of an impact on our houses,” he said.

Another resident, who lives on Glenridge Drive, said he wouldn’t have purchased his house if he had known this project, and others that would connect to it, were in the pipeline because they would likely affect his property.

But he does regularly use the Sandy Springs MARTA Station and ride a bicycle, so he said he is looking forward to the added connectivity.

The project is eventually planned to connect to other regional trails like PATH400.

Another resident worried bike traffic would be dangerous to walkers and argued the city should create bike lanes to divert traffic off the multi-use path.

The project is expected to be reviewed at the City Council’s next work session on Oct. 16 held in City Hall, 1 Galambos Way. Comments can be submitted to rsherwood@sandyspringsga.gov until Oct. 15.

For more information, including full concept illustrations, visit the project’s webpage at sandyspringsga.gov/mvc.

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