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.