TDK Extension will be traffic disaster for PTC

Tue, 02/06/2007 - 5:15pm
By: Letters to the ...

Mayor Harold Logsdon is demanding two lanes instead of four for the TDK Extension. This is remarkable because when the mayor voted in December to accept the right-of-way as the developers wanted, the mayor told us “that it was better to have the land under city control so the city can ultimately decide whether to build the road or not” (Citizen, Dec. 14, 2006). Another smokescreen — he was always going [to be] building the road.

Mayor Logsdon has made it clear to Coweta County officials that he is very willing to build a two-lane road, as the newspaper article explained, “By not stalling the TDK Extension, the city will be doing its part to cooperate on a regional basis” (Citizen, Feb. 2). He is doing his part to contribute to developer largesse and not to his constituents.

The justification of TDK has consisted of one embarrassing lie after another. On March 9, 2001, it was reported, “The TDK extension is predicted to help ease traffic on Georgia Highway 54 West as Coweta County residents coming to work at the [Peachtree City] industrial park will be able to take that route instead.”

On April 13, 2001, we were told, “According to traffic forecasts, that [TDK] would reduce traffic on Hwy. 54 in Peachtree City by 20 percent.”

The Fayette Chamber of Commerce chimed in saying, “Many studies have been made at great cost to the city. As traffic continues to worsen along Ga. Highway 54 (particularly after the opening of Wal-Mart and Home Depot), the necessity of extending TDK Boulevard into Coweta County becomes even more obvious” (Dec. 18, 2002).

A May 4, 2001 headline read, “TDK Extension could lighten traffic.” You can find these types of assurances being made by all the pro-TDK profiteers. How could anyone not want to buy into those wonderful claims?

Even State Rep. Mitch Seabaugh and U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland got into the TDK act. “State officials, including Seabaugh and Westmoreland, eventually got involved in creation of the project, citing the need to alleviate traffic on the stretch of Ga. highways 34 and 54 between Newnan and Peachtree City” (Citizen, Dec. 14, 2004). However, the two political figures neglected to tell the public they were hauling in big campaign checks from the property owners/developers on the Coweta County side of the proposed road.

Take a look at what happened when the logic of the developer-driven TDK was questioned. “The project would extend TDK Boulevard into Coweta County via a bridge over Line Creek and was originally envisioned as a way to free up traffic on Ga. Highway 54 West by rerouting employees to the city’s industrial park. But Peachtree City Mayor Steve Brown is worried that Coweta officials may allow rampant development of the area and create more of a traffic problem than a traffic solution” (Citizen, Mar. 22, 2002).

The article continued, “[Coweta Commissioner] Hunter also disputes [Brown’s] concerns about development in the area. ‘That’s not a concern of theirs. It’s far easier to build something in Peachtree City than Coweta County,’ Hunter added.” The article closed, “Hunter reiterated his position [on traffic relief] and dismissed Brown’s take on the [TDK] project as ‘hogwash.’”

Everyone now knows the painful truth about TDK and how it will force Peachtree City’s roads to be used as a congested doormat for a new massive city-sized development in the next county. All the rhetoric about traffic relief, traffic reduction, alternative route to the industrial park and no large developments in Coweta were lies.

TDK will specifically enable the development of a massive Pavilion-type shopping center drawing significant traffic onto our roads and depleting our Fayette County sales tax revenues. The new TDK residential traffic will drown Peachtree City and Tyrone commuters in a sea of cars. The reality that three members of the City Council continue to support going ahead with TDK is mind-boggling.

Mayor Logsdon has only given two reasons for proceeding with TDK, a project which financial benefits for some of his campaign contributors. First, he says the plan to extend TDK has been on the planning books for over a decade; therefore, we must build it.

Actually, what the mayor fails to tell everyone is that the comprehensive plan for the land in Coweta abutting the proposed road has always been zoned rural residential at a drastically lower density than what Coweta currently demands. In addition, there has never been 1 million square feet of retail and office space in the Coweta plans before either. Coweta County made radical changes and we should automatically reconsider the project based upon those changes.

Second, Mayor Logsdon said, “I just think it’s the right thing to do for the citizens of Peachtree City and Fayette County” (The Citizen 7-13-06). However, all the traffic data shows great harm to Peachtree City and Fayette County, and he has not been able to provide a single logical reason as to why extending TDK is the right thing to do.

There is no intelligent justification for building TDK and no rational explanation for building it with only two lanes causing a multitude of future problems. In fact, a logical planning assessment of TDK and the adjoining development would dictate the road be built to a four-lane standard.

I must agree with GRTA, if we are going to enable the massive development in Coweta County with the construction of TDK, we must have four lanes or most of our other roads will be choked down to a halt. Rectifying those future secondary road problems will require a steep tax increase.

Mayor Logsdon’s cry for improvements to the Ga. Highway 74 interchange with Interstate 85 appear shallow when he makes it possible for an entire new city to start driving up Hwy. 74 with us. With TDK and a large Westside annexation we are adding considerably more traffic volume which will negate any road improvements we construct to the I-85 interchange.

All of the Development of Regional Impact studies show the Hwy. 74 and Hwy. 54 intersection will be drastically impacted by the TDK developments. Even a TDK study from URS (formerly Dames & Moore) in 2000 identified that intersection as a major choke point.

Unfortunately, there are no funds in the roads SPLOST for modifying the intersection of hwys. 74 and 54, one of the reasons I opposed the referendum. Mayor Logsdon has no plan to resolve the extensive gridlock we will experience at the intersection of hwys. 74 and 54, Crosstown Road and beyond.

We need to wake up! TDK and the development it enables will cause a sub-regional traffic disaster which is why GRTA is trying to force us into some very expensive traffic improvement projects.

We find ourselves with three City Council members wanting to build a road established on a series of lies about traffic relief. The road presents no positive benefits for Peachtree City and Fayette County and will be the antithesis of traffic relief.

We do know that the road will benefit some politically active developers. We also know Coweta County stands to reap over $1 billion in taxes and fees on the deal. However, the worst part is we have no way of mitigating the destructive impacts of the TDK developments on our local roads.

Until the mayor and council can generate some positive reasons for building the TDK extension, reasons that benefit the citizens of Peachtree City and Fayette County, the project should be halted indefinitely.

Steve Brown
Peachtree City, Ga.

Brown served as mayor of Peachtree City from 2001 to 2005.

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