Proposed changes to North Druid Hills Road in Brookhaven and Buckhead’s Pine Hills neighborhood include everything from a roundabout at East Roxboro Road to a multiuse path along the east side of the road to public art near the Brookhaven-Oglethorpe MARTA Station. A final draft report of the North Druid Hills Corridor Study that includes these and other proposals is slated to be presented to the Brookhaven City Council at its April 9 work session at 3:30 p.m. at City Hall, 4362 Peachtree Road.
The proposals are being made by consultant Gresham Smith, hired last year by Brookhaven for $127,000. Gresham Smith was also the consultant for the city’s Ashford-Dunwoody Corridor Study. Mayor John Ernst has said the city plans to apply for federal and state grants through the Atlanta Regional Commission to pay for costs of the projects. Timing for this process or when construction could begin if the study is approved is unclear at this time.
The city is seeking a “corridor vision” for the nearly three miles of busy road between Peachtree Road at the north end to the southernmost end at Briarcliff Road. This segment serves as the main north-south artery in Brookhaven and is one of the most important streets in the city, according to the study.
The corridor vision in the study includes better-looking streetscapes while planning for increased traffic as the metro Atlanta population continues to grow. The vision also involves making the road easier and safer for pedestrians, cyclists and those using transit with added crosswalks, islands and a 10-foot wide multiuse path running along the entire stretch of the thoroughfare.
The thoroughfare connects the MARTA station, the Brookhaven Branch Library, Fernwood Park, the Lenox Park office complex, Cross Keys High and Woodward Elementary schools, some churches, and numerous multifamily and single-family residential neighborhoods. The commercial areas are mostly located at the two ends of the road with the residential areas in the middle.
North Druid Hills Road is already notoriously congested, especially during morning and evening peak hours. Major projects expected to further aggravate traffic congestion on North Druid Hills Road include the current construction of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s 70-acre medical campus at the I-85 interchange, future construction of the 60-acre Executive Park owned by Emory University and construction of a new Cross Keys High School on North Druid Hills Road at the former Briarcliff High School site.
The final draft does not include any major changes or tweaks from what was presented at public open houses in January and March.
The main components the study is recommending include: a near-continuous two-way center left-turn lane to serve current and projected future traffic; improvements at key intersections such as new turn lanes, improved turning angles, and a proposed roundabout at East Roxboro Road to improve traffic flow; a continuous sidewalk on the west side of North Druid Hills Road and a continuous 10-foot wide multiuse path for pedestrians and cyclists on the east side; and improved pedestrian crossings at key intersections along with new mid-block crosswalks.
Other recommendations include streamlined and consolidated MARTA bus stops to improve efficiency and burying utilities where feasible.
The study also recommends Brookhaven pursue a corridor study of East Roxboro Road between North Druid Hills Road and the city limits. The city of Atlanta’s infrastructure on East Roxboro Road supports four lanes with a median, the study states, which could potentially be extended eastward into the city of Brookhaven.
The recommendations included in the final draft of the report are based on anticipated future traffic and divided into short-term (by 2025), mid-term (2035) and long-term (2045).
Some of the proposed intersection changes:
East Roxboro Road/North Druid Hills Road
The most dramatic proposal is a roundabout at North Druid Hills Road and East Roxboro Road; it is listed as one of the long-term projects.
The proposal calls for realigning the intersection to bring it closer to a 90 degree angle and converting it into a 3-legged multi-lane roundabout with a central landscaped island. This project would call for closing Goodwin Road to vehicular traffic, maintaining it as a green space and preserving access for the residences in the triangle between East Roxboro Road, Goodwin Road and North Druid Hills Road.
Traffic signals would be removed at the intersections of North Druid Hills at Goodwin roads and at East Roxboro at Goodwin roads for the roundabout. Crosswalks and sidewalks and multi-use paths would also be incorporated into the design to provide safety for pedestrians, cyclists and those using transit.
The southbound entry leg into the roundabout includes two lanes, but community members at previous open houses raised concerns about the ability for motorists to make the right-turn from Goodwin Road to East Roxboro Road and get into the inside lane of the roundabout to travel north. The study recommends that at the time of design, the city consider leaving the traffic signals at Goodwin and East Roxboro roads to be activated by detectors embedded in the road.
The project also would call for building a 10-foot multi-use path along the north side of Goodwin Road to provide a direct connection for those walking and biking between East Roxboro and North Druid Hills roads. The roundabout would also create a “visual cue” to motorists driving from Buford Highway to slow down when approaching North Druid Hills Road and indicate the area is a multi-modal community, according to the study.
Lenox Park Boulevard/North Cliff Valley Way
The proposals for this mid-term intersection project include adding another westbound through-lane on North Cliff Valley Way and a new eastbound through-lane on Lenox Park Boulevard to continue the divided roadway boulevard-style on Lenox Park Boulevard.
Proposed changes for this short-term project include adding a northbound right-turn lane from North Druid Hills Road onto Briarwood Road; extending the southbound left-turn lane on North Druid Hills Road; moving the westbound left-turn lane from Briarwood Road to North Druid Hills Road to the south and expanding the raised island between the westbound right-turn lane and the westbound left-turn lane; installing a midblock crosswalk just north of Thornwell Drive; and converting Oglethorpe Avenue into a right-in-only entrance to deter cut-through traffic through Brookhaven Heights neighborhood.
To make the proposed changes, the city would need some of Brookhaven United Methodist Church’s driveway and need to remove the church’s on-street parking spaces now located on North Druid Hills Road. The study notes the church supports the multiuse path and removal of the parking spaces.
As part of the construction of townhomes where the Boys & Girls Club was once located on North Druid Hills Road, the developers are adding a right-turn lane from Briarwood Road and a multiuse path on North Druid Hills that runs along the development.
The entire report: