Jones Bridge T-SPLOST Discussion Has Wide-Reaching Implications

Issues raised while discussing the Jones Bridge Road widening will have implications for T-SPLOST projects across Johns Creek.

The agenda for the Johns Creeks City Council Work Session on Monday November 5th 2018 included discussions of efforts that will be focused on traffic along Jones Bridge Road between Waters Road and State Bridge Road.  This corridor is among those designated as Tier 1 projects.

During the meeting (video available here - pertinent discussion begins around 13:00 mark), Public Works Director Lynette Baker asked City Council to consider allocating T-SPLOST funds to begin design proposal work.  Council Members requested clarifications regarding the scope of the study, and whether more than one option would be considered and presented in final deliverables. 

Councilman Jay Lin described meetings he and Councilman Broadbent had with a professor at Kennesaw State University to discuss modeling some possible scenarios..  Council Members Endres, Coughlin, and Bradberry stated their expectations that any T-SPLOST study should evaluate options that include more than just widening to four lanes.

Director Baker mentioned several times that Jones Bridge Road is 18% over capacity, and that residents are having difficulty exiting their neighborhoods.  City Manager Warren Hutmacher referenced the need to address the “problem statement”, but it isn’t entirely clear what problem is meant to be addressed.  Specifically, Councilman Bradberry noted that the majority of Jones Bridge Road traffic congestion is experienced at road intersections.  He asked whether we were planning to address intersection efficiency and throughput before jumping to the conclusion that capacity increases via road widening would resolve issues. 

A common suggestion during these discussions at City Council has been the refrain to “take the journey”, and Councilman Bradberry questioned whether that was a valid request if the destination is already decided - i.e., is widening to four lanes the foregone conclusion . Councilwoman Endres agreed with Councilman Bradberry, and mentioned that during the run-up to T-SPLOST, the City Council and residents were repeatedly assured that those projects presented prior to the vote were always presented as proposals that could be modified or even abandoned if and when T-SPLOST was approved.  During the course of these discussions and observations, the city’s Legal Counsel responded that the Council could consider any combination of options so long as the originally proposed T-SPLOST project is included among those studied and considered.

Councilman and Mayor Pro-Tem Lenny Zaprowski ran the meeting in the absence of Mayor Mike Bodker who was attending to family business.  The final consensus direction to Public Works was to come back with project design options to include the four lane widening as well as other options (potentially to include an option of widening to three lanes where the middle lane would serve as a turn lane).  The importance of flexibility was emphasized, and the assembled representatives were consistent on that point.  

On the whole, the conversation at this Work Session was positive, with several members expressing their appreciation for the open and honest discussion.  This holds promise for residents so that we don’t find ourselves being force-fit into predefined “solutions” that may not deliver the benefits we all seek.