DeKalb Commissioner Stan Watson told residents of the Chapel Hill community that he will seek DOT’s approval for a traffic light.
“We have to prove to the DOT that a light is warranted,” he said. “We all know it’s warranted but we want to make sure it’s documented because the end result is that somebody has to pay for that light, either DeKalb County or the DOT.”
In the past 17 months, a total of 29 accidents have occurred at the intersection among motor vehicles entering and exiting the Chapel Hill Commons Shopping Center where Kroger is located and the Village of Flat Shoals across Flat Shoals Parkway.
Business owners, consumers and residents have complained about the difficulty to see oncoming traffic when making left turns into both shopping centers.
Willie Candidate, who lives in the Chapel Hill community, said the intersection is very dangerous.
“It’s definitely a serious engineering flaw,” she said.
Neighbor Kenneth Banks said a light would help slow the traffic down.
“They ought to change the speed limit [from 45 mph to 35 mph] too,” he said. “It will minimize the wrecks and promote pedestrian safety.”
Mike Lobdell, district traffic engineer of the Georgia Department of Transportation, said putting a traffic light there would increase rear-end accidents.
“Once you start interrupting that flow of traffic, the rear-end accidents would go up,” he said.
Watson said he will go back to the county to figure out the cost of the light. Once he gets those numbers, he’ll meet with the DOT to share those numbers.
“Then we’ll try to figure out what to do, how we match [with the DOT numbers], and how to crunch the numbers.”
Watson said he expects to have the final cost in the next 30 to 45 days.
The DOT has already approved HAWK pedestrian crosswalks on Flat Shoals Parkway between Clifton Springs Road and the I-285 exit. HAWKs, which feature islands in the middle of high-pedestrian areas, allow pedestrians to bring traffic to a complete stop. The crosswalk features two buttons for pedestrians to push – at the sidewalk and in the middle of the roadway.
The plan to put the two HAWKs came after 7-year-old Zederick Carr was hit in January by an SUV while crossing Flat Shoals Parkway with his stepfather and two siblings. The family made it halfway across the street when a car came at them in the turn lane. The stepfather tried to jerk Zederick out of the way, but his hand came loose and the car struck him. EMTs rushed the boy to the hospital, but he later died.
“We plan to have the HAWKs up in less than six months,” Watson said.