Bad news ahead in Coweta plan for PTC traffic, Falcon Field

Tue, 06/26/2007 - 5:52pm
By: Letters to the ...

I thought the June 19 Peachtree City Town Hall meeting exposed the dangers of the TDK expansion. There was a lot to say and very little time to say it, but interesting conversation none the less.

People from all over Fayette County are a bit anxious over the situation regarding the expansion of TDK Boulevard. Most ask me, “Is it really dead?” I do not think so. However, I know for sure that the raison d’etre for building the expansion was blown to bits at the Town Hall meeting. Unfortunately, we reside in a community where dishonesty is routinely accepted and even mandated by politicians, the Chamber of Commerce, and profiteers. I wish we were not such a large producer of mendacity.

We had a group of people fabricating stories, “TDK the shortcut” and “TDK will relieve traffic,” to benefit a handful of Fayette County developers gone wild. Yes, our own Fayette County developers are heaping this havoc upon us. Even Mayor Logsdon, an avid TDK supporter, had to admit the traffic was going to pour onto Ga. Highway 74 North from Coweta County.

Let me give you some relevant data, so the next time TDK comes up — and I think it will — you will know the facts. First, remember the great hidden secret of transportation, “Development patterns drive transportation, and, yes, appropriate land planning does matter.”

I gave a talk to the American Planners Association a couple of years back on the Howell Mill Wal-Mart at I-75. The plan for the development was unique, but I told the room of government planners that it would kill the local roads.

The city of Atlanta did approved the new Wal-Mart Center and sure enough the traffic backs up horribly now. The city does not have the funds to make the needed road improvements. “And even if all the improvements were built, peak traffic of 15,000 new trips generated would still give three intersections a grade of ‘D,’ according to a state traffic analysis” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution 4/24/2007).

“Meanwhile, the number of new developments proposed around that part of Howell Mill Road has nearly doubled (chairman of the planning unit) Martin said. Projects range from a townhouse complex expansion to a new development with 1,450 housing units and 150,000 square feet of commercial space.”

This Wal-Mart situation is an excellent example of land development choices (please note the use of the “choices”) propelling the transportation infrastructure into gridlock.

Look at what conservative columnist Jim Wooten had to say, “The failure to prepare Howell Mill Road leading into I-75 in Atlanta to support the density the local government unwisely approved demonstrates yet again the need for a state law to prohibit local governments from zoning or approving projects that create density beyond existing roads’ carrying capacity. Approved development adds 15,000 more trips to Howell Mill” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution 5/30/2007).

OK, can you now imagine the impact of nearly 1 million square feet (think Fayette Pavilion size) of commercial shopping and office just across the border on TDK Boulevard in Coweta County? Now add 3,200 new houses, at two automobiles per house, to the equation. Now add thousands of employees who will drive to the commercial area every day.

This might sound bleak for the current Hwy. 74 commuters, both Fayette and Coweta Countians, but that is not the end of it.

“This development scenario is highlighted by the creation of a series of Village Centers within the county, strategically placed to encourage new development to form in clusters, with a mix of residential, commercial, and institutional uses. The Village Centers will include the EIGHT existing municipalities, THREE redeveloped traditional mill villages, TWO preferred village centers, and smaller crossroads communities” (Coweta County 2006-2026 Comprehensive Plan Future Wastewater Treatment Strategy for Coweta County, capitalization added for emphasis).

They are creating two city-size villages, expanding eight existing cities, redeveloping and enlarging three mill villages and throwing medium density housing in between.

The Coweta County Joint Comprehensive Trans. Plan and Implementation Program (URS, sec. 3-13, May 23, 2006) already lists Ga. Highway 54 from Fischer Road east to the Fayette County line as a “failing segment of the Coweta County roadway network.” However, many developer advocates claim the wave of new east Coweta traffic will use Ga. Highway 154. That analysis is unfounded pie in the sky.

Hwy. 154 is not going to be Peachtree City’s savior from east Coweta County traffic because Coweta says the level of service and capacity are projected to be low on the route. This is exactly why the Coweta commissioners want TDK.

“As a result of increased travel demands over time, additional roadway projects are recommended to accommodate demand ... As such, trips are expected to travel longer distances to satisfy the trip demand end purpose, particularly work-related trips” (Coweta County Joint Comprehensive Trans. Plan and Implementation Program, URS, sec. 3-13, May 23, 2006).

They are saying their increased future car volume will easily outstrip road capacity and it will take a lot longer to go anywhere, especially to work.

The Coweta County 2030 Volume to Capacity, Future Development Plan shows all roadway connections to Peachtree City to be at level of service “F.” All sections of Hwy. 154 are at level of service “F” or “D.”

Likewise, the TDK Extension/Vernon Hunter Parkway is listed as a “capacity-adding project” for Coweta County (fig. 4-1) in the 2030 Volume to Capacity chart with a level of service of “E.” In addition, I-85 within Coweta County shows significant stress with levels of service of “E” or “F.”

Here is some perspective: Level “F” is the worst end of the scale. If there was such a thing as a level “J,” it could be applied to some of the listings above.

The Newnan-Coweta Airport is rapidly expanding and implementing a five-year capital improvements plan with total expenditures of approximately $30 million. Their facility is well protected in their future land plans.

Peachtree City’s Falcon Field, however, has a strong possibility of facing significant flight path pressures from the residential growth encroaching along the border from McIntosh Village. Similar situations, resulting in litigation, have occurred in DeKalb and Fulton counties.

The situation with the airport is extremely serious and could hamper operations, or worse, cause Peachtree City and Fayette County to have to annually divert funds from their budgets to prop up Falcon Field.

Finally, even with all of the glaring negatives surrounding the TDK Boulevard expansion, the developer-driven Fayette County Chamber of Commerce is the only local entity still throwing their full support behind the expansion.

Many local merchants in Peachtree City are quite irritated as should be the Fayette homeowners who will have to pay the bill to make up for sales taxes lost across the border.

Steve Brown

Peachtree City, Ga.

[Brown served as mayor of Peachtree City from 2002 through 2005.]

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Submitted by John M on Thu, 06/28/2007 - 1:45pm.

Well at least we have one person in Peachtree City who is not afraid to tell the truth. I would be interested to know what the Chamber of Commerce gave as their reason for still supporting TDK at the meeting.

It's really too bad the only person who got it right didn't get re-elected. I agree with the, "Unfortunately, we reside in a community where dishonesty is routinely accepted and even mandated by politicians, the Chamber of Commerce, and profiteers." Although you'll see worse in other cities, I agree that Fayette County has its share.

"I'm NOT John Munford"

Submitted by McDonoughDawg on Thu, 06/28/2007 - 1:56pm.

And it's the one in office now. ALL other Councils up until the last vote taken, have either promoted the road, or funded it it in some way, or both.

I'm not crazy enough to think it's dead, no way. But I do like the idea of making Coweta make the first move on providing access to a development someway other than across TDK.

We as citizens need to stay vigilant on this matter, for sure.

Submitted by johenry on Thu, 06/28/2007 - 6:39pm.

Ok, McDonoughDawg here it is in the clear out in the open:

Harold Logsdon:
"I would first like to state that I would be in favor of completing this project in cooperation with Fayette and Coweta officials for the most economically efficient solution. The realistic situation is that the TDK extension is already in motion. I feel that my responsibility is not to be an obstacle to the completion of the project, as it now stands with the current Mayor. The timely completion of this project is vital to PTC’s economy and Fayette County at large."

Steve Brown:
"Mayor Steve Brown has vehemently opposed the city spending more money on the redesign of the road for several reasons, including his opposition to the benefit of the road. He contends the road’s projected traffic load will come from development that will occur on the Coweta side, leaving little traffic relief benefit for the city’s industrial park, which TDK proponents say will be significant."
The Citizen Dec. 10, 2004

I seriously don't think anyone with a brain in their head and a clean conscience is going to deny that the opposition raised by Steve Brown was a major factor in getting TDK stopped. Isn't it funny how everyone, including McDonoughDawg, were screaming in the past that Steve was blocking the construction of TDK.

Now all of the cowards have jumped the fence and they want to make out Steve to be the bad guy. What a stupid joke!

Steve Brown fought for us year after year and the low-lifes gave him hell. I'm shocked that he would still care enough to keep on fighting for us.

Submitted by McDonoughDawg on Thu, 06/28/2007 - 7:02pm.

I'll hang up and listen.

FYI, I don't plan on you being able to answer the question.

Unlikle many, I give the Citizens of PTC more credit than most. I've talked to many that said the Citizens didn't let up on this one.

Submitted by Jones on Thu, 06/28/2007 - 10:12pm.

McDonoughDawg, you even said yourself in your first post that you didn't think TDK was dead. Why are you giving the current City Council so much credit then? You are a Brown-Basher and always have been.

I've got to agree with Johenry on this one. It looks awful stupid for a group to first say Steve Brown was holding up TDK and then later say he never tried to stop it.

It's pretty clear Steve Brown was on the right track all along. And there's very little doubt there was undercurrent from the old development people trying to pull a fast one.

Submitted by McDonoughDawg on Fri, 06/29/2007 - 8:11am.

I don't get that. How can you say that? He was also on Councils that were for TDK, and helped move it forward. All this while he was Mayor. It doesn't take a genius to see this. I realize he's pulling some folks strings, and wants to run for Mayor again, but I think we need to move on.

All I asked was what I said originally in this thread that was wrong. It seems that can't be answered. So be it.

I just tend to think the way it's being handled now, with what Coweta has done recently in zoning approval, is the correct way. Make them blink first. 30 years of work isn't easy to make go away over night. I'm not even sure it "NEVER" needs to be built.

I didn't even mention Steve Brown. I truly don't get the Peachtree City Civic Associations infatuation with Steve Brown. Maybe that's my problem. He isn't Mayor, he was a one term Mayor, he was defeated handily in the last election. Let's move on.

FYI I didn't vote for either Brown or Logsdon in the Primary for Mayor. .

Submitted by johenry on Sun, 07/01/2007 - 9:49am.

Bob Lenox and all of the Direct PAC guys you idolize consistently said Steve was killing TDK behind the scenes. Try to muster enough mental power to think about this: If Steve Brown was "for" TDK, it would have been under construction during his term. Duh!

Steve told a group of seniors at the Gathering Place a couple of months ago, he would not run for either mayor or council in Peachtree City again. I think that is horrible because he was right on the issues and he treated everyone the same.

Submitted by dollaradayandfound on Sun, 07/01/2007 - 11:43am.

Brown was the only mayor PTC has had who was a friend of the minority--that is, people who work for the next pay check.
He figured those who developed, plotted, schemed, lawyered, and out-smarted others could take care of themselves, but the rest of us could not in this town. He was correct.
Now, that having been said, it is likely that at one time Brown (take your pick) was maybe willing to listen to the development of TDK, when it appeared that Lennox junction was never going to handle the traffic--it doesn't now about three times per day, and will be horrible when Coweta fully develops.
Too bad Brown wasn't in the right crowd to know about the plan for the TDK bridge---a way out for this end of Coweta---through PTC. When he did find out, he was then definitely against it.
I know this sounds like: I puffed Mary Jane, but I didn't inhale!
We all will deflect facts occasionally when it is to our advantage.

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