Alpharetta residents ‘envision’ Ga. 9: Study looks at future development

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ALPHARETTA, Ga. – One of the major thoroughfares in North Fulton is Ga. 9 – known by many names such as Main Street, Alpharetta Highway and South Atlanta Street. In Alpharetta, officials are seeking resident input of what the state route should look like in the coming years as part of their “Envision Main Street” campaign.

The scope of the study is along Ga. 9 from Old Milton Parkway north to Windward Parkway.

At one point, the Georgia Department of Transportation – GDOT – considered widening the street to four lanes entirely through Alpharetta, with a raised median down the middle. They have since pulled back from that plan and are now soliciting input for a new one.

“We are here to determine what Alpharetta residents want,” said Caleb Racicot, with TSW and Associates, the community planning and design firm who will come up with a new concept plan. “We want to hear what their ideas are.”

Among the ideas to be considered are how wide the lanes should be, how wide sidewalks should be, should there be bike lanes and whether to put in landscaping.

Residents were able to look at maps and pictures of the project area and leave notes for Racicot and his team with comments of what needs to be done.

“I’d like to see more of a boulevard appearance,” said Paula Milliard, who lives in the Mannings Ridge neighborhood. “Tree-lined with large walking sidewalks and continue the look of downtown with more planters.”

Milliard’s neighbor Matthew Hunt said speed was his biggest concern.

“I’m not a huge fan of a raised median,” he said. “It’s already too fast and dangerous. I’m worried the median will speed up traffic.”

Currently, he said, many of the sidewalks along Ga. 9 abut the street and feel dangerous to pedestrians. Slowing traffic was a large concern for Hunt and many other residents who turned out for the meeting.

For resident Leigh Maloney, speed was less a concern than the never ending stream of traffic.

“If nothing else happens, we need a light at Vaughn Drive,” Maloney said. “We’re not likely to get a roundabout, but anything is better than nothing.”

Turning out of Vaughn can be difficult with the endless traffic, she said, and vehicles trying to squeeze through a gap in the cars may end up causing accidents.

“It’s ‘Main Street,’” she said. “It’s supposed to be slow and pretty. It’s not supposed to be like Holcomb Bridge Road.”

Racicot said his firm will collect the input from residents at the March 13 meeting, compile it into something of a plan and then present that to the public again for more input. The second meeting is March 26. After that, the amended plan will be presented to the Alpharetta City Council April 8.

Residents who cannot make the meetings can leave comments at the study’s website, www.envisionmainstreetalpharetta.com.