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Chamblee-Tucker "Speedway" Claiming Too Many Victims

A simple roadway conversion may turn Tucker’s most dangerous road into a safer place to work, attend school and live.

Ever hear of something called a Road Diet? Think of it as the equivalent to Weight Watchers, only for roadways. Many of us need tummy tucks and tightened buttocks. Well, communities across our country are trimming the fat off their wide streets, adding bike lanes and center turn lanes for a leaner look.

Three weeks ago, Tucker resident Jennifer McKillop heard what sounded “like a bomb going off” in her front yard.

She and many of her neighbors ran from their homes to find a car flipped over in her front yard (see photos). Two Tucker teenagers drag racing down Chamblee-Tucker Road caused a three-car accident, flipped an innocent woman’s car, and totaled two of the three cars.

Two people were transported to area hospitals.

There is an average of 60 and 90 car accidents a year on Chamblee-Tucker Road. (source: GA Dept of Transportation)

This is the fuel to the on-going discussion of our infamous “Chamblee-Tucker Speedway” - the unfortunate nickname local police and Fire & Rescue teams have dubbed the two mile stretch of Chamblee-Tucker Road between Tucker High School and the QT by Tucker-Norcross Road.

That area of road averages almost one fatality a year, with accident statistics two-times greater than similar roadways in the county. (DeKalb Dept. of Transportation)

Jane Tanner, a Chamblee-Tucker Road area resident, has put her nose to the grindstone working the past seven years with neighboring residents, local civic communities, and the county to help make a positive change to this precarious artery.

“It’s just repainting. That’s it.”

According to Tanner’s research, changing that strip of roadway back to 2 lanes with an added middle turn lane could be the answer to our problems.  

“We were informed by the DOT that it would cost between $30,000 and $35,000 dollars to restripe the two mile section, whereas a brand new traffic signal costs between $100,000 and $150,000,” explains Tanner.

“The difference in cost for two new lights, is ten times the cost of re-striping. Which do you try first?” asks a puzzled Tanner.

In 2004 Tanner originally asked the Georgia Department of Transportation to look for solutions and in 2006 they started studying and designing the new two-lane road diet option. That was five years ago.

“I’m flabbergasted it’s not a priority to them. Maybe there are more things that are pressing, but a person is killed every year on this road.”

By design, a road diet allows for smoother traffic flow during both slow and peak driving hours. It reduces speed (you can only go as fast as the car in front of you) and provides center turn lanes allowing traffic to proceed without having to sit and wait.

What’s more, it will help all the neighborhood streets up and down Chamblee-Tucker Road merge in and out of traffic quicker and easier. It is a win-win for everyone.

Chamblee-Tucker Road became a four-lane thoroughfare around 20 years ago. Long-time residents in the area remember the days when it was much safer as a two-lane road, and they’ve complained to the county about the speeding ever since.

“The design of the new road is a done deal, it’s all done, we’re just waiting on a funding source,” explains Tanner.

Go to Chamblee-Tucker Road Project Facebook page to check out photos and learn more about the “Chamblee-Tucker Speedway” or email me at Parks@TuckerCivic.org

Karyn June 29, 2011 at 12:32 PM
I went to the Public Meeting a few years ago at Livsey for the Road Diet. I think I was one of about 3 people in favor with a slew of our "original owner" neighbors saying that they'd never be able to turn out of their neighborhoods if there was only one lane of traffic. I understand why it's confusing that cutting through lanes can make traffic flow better. But it really makes sense when you think about the turning traffic and not having to slow or shift around turning cars. The safety benefit really sells it for me.
Lori Laliberte-Carey June 29, 2011 at 10:14 PM
I for one am ready for a center turn lane. I do not like hearing the screech of tires behind me as someone tries to brake while I am waiting for an opening to turn left. I've seen someone get rear ended right in front of Livsey while waiting to turn onto Smithsonia because the driver came up on her too fast. Do we need to contact anyone to improve the chance for funding the road diet?
Jen McKillop June 29, 2011 at 11:03 PM
Regrettably I just got off the phone with 911. A car was making a legal left hand turn onto North Park off Chamblee Tucker, a lawn service vehicle was behind him and was struck by a white panel van that came around the blind turn too quickly to stop. As I was out washing my dogs the horrible sound of yet another crash interrupted an otherwise lovely late afternoon in the yard. This is madness and needs a real solution. Thankfully there were no obvious injuries this time. If you have thoughts please join the Face Book Page entitled Chamblee-Tucker Road Project to be sure to receive all updates and to show your support. Some pictures of the latest accident were just posted. Thanks for caring, Jen McKillop
Jen McKillop June 29, 2011 at 11:05 PM
Lori thanks for your reply and concern. We are working on an exact plan of action to ensure we contact the correct people with the correct information. We will be posting details in the next few weeks. In the meantime, you utilize Face Book you can join the Face Book Page entitled Chamblee-Tucker Road Project. Feel free to keep my contact information as well - jennifer@PromoMomma.com and my cell 404-431-7249. Thanks - Jen
Lori Laliberte-Carey July 07, 2011 at 04:37 PM
Yes, this is exactly the situation the center lane will remedy. The turn lane will give residents a safe place to wait for an opening in traffic and a safe lane to pull into before merging. So Carol, the volume will be heavy, it always is, but entering and exiting will be safer. And with turners in the center lane, rather than a travel lane, the flow will be smoother and more consistent. This efficiency in flow will make up for the reduction in lanes. Really, really!

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