• Update: Traffic Lighting Dysfunction Discussion

    By Staff
    July 24, 2017

    Update: Traffic Lighting Dysfunction Discussion

    At the May 8th meeting, staff was directed to return in 6 weeks with plans for improvements.

    It will be 11 weeks, and the agenda item is given a WHOPPING 20 minutes, for tonight's meeting.

    Arts and Culture Board is allocated 45 minutes.

    Screen grab of agenda items

    It is low on the prioritization for the meeting, and doubtful the Council will get to it unless it is shifted up during the meeting.

    City Staff is recommending MORE Money to be spent on the traffic light intelligent system, pucks, fibers, cables, etc, to the tune of $1,521,500.

    The recommendations are to improve the uptime of lights...not the performance of the lights themselves.

    No metrics or data are included in the documents provided to the City Council.


    Despite the millions of dollars that have already been spent on this intelligent lighting system, the staff has not documented the (ROI) Return on Investment, or before/after performance data.

    City Staff has admitted in the previous meeting they do not have the needed expertise to improve the performance.

    The Traffic light management/Public Works has been outsourced to CH2M Hill, since the City's inception. The contract has never been put out to bid. City Council is on track to renew the CH2 contract(which expires in Dec), without competition or comparison of the bid process.

    Ongoing Issues

    Months ago, Councilwoman Stephanie Endres & former Councilman Bob Gray advocated to send the contract out to bid. They were outnumbered with starch resistance by Mayor Bodker and Councilpersons Broadbent, Lin, & Davenport.

    Mayor Bodker tapped Councilman Jay Lin to oversee the contract renewal negotiations with Ch2. When asked during a May meeting how those negotiations were going, Jay Lin stated: "I am happy where we are." He also stated his focus was on the outsourced employees continuing the work with the City, undisrupted.  Interestingly, he did NOT discuss negotiating the best contract for the City or improving the services.

    It is highly controversial and many would interpret the City Charter is violated by Elected Officials participating in negotiating contracts for the City. This issue was previously highlighted during the billboard debacle, with Mayor Bodker & Councilwoman Cori Davenport negotiating the Billboard settlement with her good friend, lake house neighbor, and owner of Action Outdoor Advertising.

    One of the most important roles an elected city official is to make sure that everything appears and is above reproach.  Just because something isn’t illegal, does it make it appropriate or the best thing to be done?

    The situation becomes muddy water when Elected Officials negotiate contracts, they will vote on. The process lacks impartiality.

    How critically will the Council review the contract in the best interest of the residents? Rather than judging the quality of the contract, they defend it.

    Alas, back to the traffic intelligent light systems. What do you think needs to be improved, and is staff addressing that?

    Read the recommendations here...

    Source: City of Johns Creek



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    T M

    A couple of years ago, the city was crowing about how they were using Waze to look at traffic and see where improvements are needed. They may have looked at Waze but are apparently ignoring the signs. The traffic light at Jones Bridge/Brookwood and McGinnis Ferry is horribly off. The traffic backed up BOTH WAYS on McGinnis at non-peak hours (when there is often no traffic crossing from Jones Bridge or Brookwood) should be a sure sign of where an improvement is needed.

    EJ Moosa

    After more than two years of conversations with City Staff on traffic lights, intersections, etc., it has become clear to me that there are two possible reasons we cannot get what we need to get done.

    A) They are not interested in actually getting traffic congestion reduced.

    B) They do not have the expertise to analyze the actual performance of the intersections.

    When pressed for answers at the May meeting, City Staff would revert back to discussing the up time of the lights versus the actual performance of the lights. These are too different issues.

    Up time today is probably higher than 98.5% overall for our traffic light system. That, however, does not make the lights more efficient for the drivers.

    Spending another million plus dollars to raise the up time by 0.5% or so? Not a wise investment.

    Let's get someone hired that is an expert in maximizing the throughput of intersections, and let's let them work on analyzing each and every intersection to maximize the throughput of these intersections.

    That would be money well spent.

    Tom Corrigan

    I'm unaware of anyone in Johns Creek who has spent more time and effort to understand our "traffic light" system. Your analysis over these years has been very eye opening. Could you tell me if the City of Johns Creek has the ability to see if anyone has intentionally adjusted our varied systems so they DO NOT work? If so can we she when this has taken place in the past? I would say about 1 year before T-Splost and continuing until today?

    My questions arise from a flippant comment made by an individual how he sees "more business coming to his company." When asked what he was discussing? He said the traffic is so bad people in this area they need the T-Splost widening of Rte 141. When asked what business he was in? Road building. When it was suggested that maybe the citizens don't want a 6 lane super highway. He stated the traffic signals what arranged to NOT help traffic move so that citizens would soon be begging for the widening, but don't tell anyone I told you.

    Obviously this would really aggravate the public if this could be true. In your opinion could this be tracked and can we obtain such information? Thank for your help with this.


    Mark Venco


    You are so right regarding Ernest being fully invested as our resident expert on this subject and I very much would like to here Ernest's opinion and add one question of my own to the conversation.

    I personally feel that the City outsources way too much always relying on contractors/third parties recommendations, especially CH2 when it comes to transportation/public works. Do you feel that bringing these functions in house within the city will provide better quality data and solutions when it comes to traffic management and transportation? My feeling is yes, especially given Tom's example, but I would really like to hear your opinion.

    Mark Venco
    Candidate - Post 3

    EJ Moosa


    Can this be tracked? No. We do not have access to the information that would be needed. Those might be items such as traffic light programming change logs(if they even do it).

    Does this happen? Yes. Recently as a participant on a committee to deal with traffic issues, one member who was from another City in North Fulton did say that traffic lights along certain routes were indeed altered to deter vehicles who might be attempting to use it as a through route.

    Of course, that means everyone suffers.

    A small price to pay for those that are adamant to get the widening they desire.


    Flashing amber left turn arrows with no priority time are a waste. With oncoming traffic only one car can turn when that light turns red. Change the system whereby turn signals start with green for 10 seconds while oncoming traffic is stopped, then turn amber.


    It's good to hear City Staff admit that they don't have the expertise to solve this issue.

    Now it's time for the City's consultant to admit this as well and leverage their contracting vehicle to find firms who have the expertise to solve our traffic light timing problems. These firms can come in under Ch2m hill's contract as their subcontractor. This approach will cut into Ch2m hill's take-home fees, but it has a better chance of getting this long-standing problem solved.

    Throwing more money at an approach that hasn't worked previously so Ch2m hill can rake in additional "management fees" is not the answer. It appears they haven't performed a rigorous root cause analysis on this matter with surrounding governmental jurisdictions and that's the first step to help develop a corrective action plan.


    The level of tolerated ongoing incompetence within the city staff/gov employees is mind-blowing. How do these people get hired? Worse yet, why do they get raises every year whether they've earned it or not? Most people underperforming like this, or that are ill-suited for the positions they hold would be fired and replaced. Period!

    The "Peter Principle" is in full swing here within JC gov!

    How do these incompetent yahoos, (Stephanie and Chris excluded from this remark) get voted in to supposedly represent the people, and run our city?

    Why is Bodker and Cori still there??? Term limits yet??

    As for our commenting in this venue; while I appreciate and learn from what others like you have to say, and how we can collectively express and share our ideas, our outrage and disappointment, it falls on deaf ears. We are powerless really.

    THE CITY HAS DONE NOTHING TO IMPROVE TRAFFIC CONGESTION- a GROWING problem I know for a fact this has been the top concern of the JC citizens/tax payers for at least FIVE years!!!!

    All council members ran on promises to get this issue addressed.
    So what's been done? NOTHING.

    Most days, even with school being out, it takes me 1hr+ to travel 12 miles, and I do not travel during commute hours. Most of the congestion is in JC!

    As for Jay Lin's comment, "I'm happy where we are". Well Jay, this is NOT about YOU! Unacceptable sarcasm- clearly showing he was NOT elected for his smarts or true concern for the citizens of JC.
    I would fire him on the spot for such an insulant smart-ass remark. What experience, what qualifications does he have that would prompt Bodker to assign ANYTHING this important to Mr Lin?

    This is do-nothing-more-than make-it-worse Bodker's responsibility. Right? He's in charge? If he's going to be lifetime mayor- (God help us all), he needs STEP IT UP and actually take responsibility the debacle his "visions" and actions or lack therin that have created; this nightmare we now must live in.

    Our quality of life is degraded more and more as time goes on. It is due to the continual unrelenting traffic congestion made more aggravating by the city's unrelenting inability to do something as simple as TIME THE LIGHTS EFFECTIVELY; and like pouring gasoline on a fire the disgust grows as we must watch the constant raping of every little bit of remaining green-space only to be replaced with pavement, high density developments, more people, more cars...

    JC has a malignant cancer that is spreading fast.


    Now that schools are open it took 23 minutes to travel the two miles between Abbotts Bridge and States Bridge on 141 south this morning. Back in August 2015 an article on this very website discussed how the city council approved a third thru lane at States Bridge and Abbott Bridge. Of course nothing has been done two years later.

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