Mayor Avoids Traffic Townhall; Online Comments Sought Instead for Proposed ThrU Turns

January 27, 2016

Due to the outcry over the proposed ThrU- Turns for 141 & State Bridge Rd, much was ado at City Hall during the agenda item discussion.

Public Works Director, Tom Black is seeking approval of local funds of $500,000 for the design plans and $100,000 for Right of Way acquisition to proceed for a MOU for GDOT to fully fund ($4.5 million) the entire construction of the ThrU Turns for 141 & State Bridge Rd.

The Mayor stressed urgency to grab the money as fast as possible.

Mr Tom Black described the innovative plan efficiency as extraordinary, almost 80% improvement in operational safety.

When asked for an example that is similar to ours, I would have expected at least one clear example to be mentioned. We've heard lots of comments about leaving things to professionals, as well as trusting the professionals. Where are the examples from the professionals?

The presentation should have overwhelmed the audience with examples, images, data, and success stories. Especially since people were already questioning it for this intersection.

How are we so far into this process and no one can give us even one example of a similar intersection?

Tom Black is not at fault, that is with those he works for; the City Manager and Mayor. They need to be the ones to raise the level of expectations.

Maybe we will get a good example, and maybe this could be the right solution. But there has been nothing presented so far to suggest that. If they do come out with the data, and it supports it, why was it so hard to get the data to us? This should be more transparent, and it should be coming with ease.

View more of the discussion here. Fast Forward to 1:50

Councilpersons Bob Gray & Stephanie Endres tapped the breaks on the proposal in effort to seek out the best decision. They requested hard data on the ThrU turns in other Cities as well as reasonable alternative plans for the intersection.

Councilmen Lenny Zaprowski & Bob Gray suggested having a Town Hall prior to spending any tax dollars on the plans. Mayor double downed on that suggestion because the council are not "Traffic Engineers".

The City Council will meet again February 8th, at 7pm and public comment will also be available for those who would like to explain their ideas in person.

In the end, there is a Call to Action for ideas, input, questions, concerns about the 141 & State Bridge Rd intersection.

What do you think the City should do to improve this intersection?

Email your comments and ideas to [email protected]

Johns Creek Community Association (JCCA) is also requesting residents CC them on ideas at [email protected]



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13 comments on “Mayor Avoids Traffic Townhall; Online Comments Sought Instead for Proposed ThrU Turns”

  1. You'd be better off doing a reverse lane like on Jim Carter or Ashford-Dunwoody.

    Did the $500K study go out for bids?

  2. Smackdown!

    Watched the link, and wow Stephanie Endres is a dedicated servant. Our best interests are hers.

    She put Tom Black in check!

  3. Four million dollars just for one intersection is a pretty high price. Surely, there is another lower cost alternative. Plus, there is so much volume at these intersections that even if the cars pass through the intersection that want to turn left, they will ultimately back up a lane of traffic at the light in which they are waiting to do the U turn which will clog up the road and prevent traffic from flowing. Not even considering the confusion that this causes for older drivers which will cause accidents. I think this should be thought about for other lower cost alternative.

  4. Diverging Diamond Interchanges (what Vince referred to as "reverse lanes") are for interchanges with exit ramps from a limited access highway. To implement something like that would mean raising or lowering one of the roads to create an overpass or underpass. That would cost way more than $4M.

    The cost may seem high, but adding medians, re-configuring lanes, and especially if any lanes need to be added, can really add up in a majorly congested intersection like this. The coordination of routing traffic through the construction zones is going to be a nightmare! PIB and 120 may be looking better when this is going on!

    I don't remember seeing an RFP for the $500k study. Too bad - I'm sure it is an interesting study!

  5. “Thru-U” alternative recommendation – a modified version of a single point urban interchange (similar to Peachtree Industrial north of 285 with access roads but not as heavy overpass structures):

    1. At the intersection of Medlock Bridge/States Bridge, each are currently 8 lanes wide
    2. Overpass starting points would be:
    a. Medlock Bridge/Medlock Crossing Parkway (south of States Bridge)
    b. Medlock Bridge/Johns Creek High School access road (north of States Bridge)
    3. Use four lanes for the overpass with a 4’ high concrete center lane divider on Medlock Bridge. For those who want to head east or west, it would require access roads on each side of the overpass to allow for right and left turns onto State Bridge Road, but with the remaining 4 lanes of existing area this could easily be accommodated.
    4. States Bridge east/west would use the existing roadway and re-strip to accommodate the new traffic patterns and sync the traffic lights to allow for longer time allotments to manage traffic more effectively.
    5. Pedestrian traffic can be re-directed to utilize the greenways along the Perimeter Church corridor as well as utilizing the greenway by Johns Creek High School. This could also result in utilization of the property purchased behind Pike’s Nursery.
    6. The over pass could also be an underpass if there is sufficient depth to allow for digging under the road.
    7. The roads are already 8 lanes wide so minimal property will need to be accessed from the four corners and current businesses will be left unaffected.
    8. Beautification techniques can be utilized such as flower boxes, decorative railings, trees, etc… the exact visuals that Johns Creek is known for.

    The reason the “Thru-U” concept will not work at Medlock Bridge/States Bridge is due to the following:

    1. City Staff has posted a Youtube video on the city’s website of effective “Thru-U’s” which were filmed primarily in Lansing and East Lansing, Michigan. These two cities are not comparable to Johns Creek as follows:
    a. Traffic volume passing through intersections in Lansing and East Lansing are less than ¼ of Johns Creek at any given time during the day.
    b. Lansing and East Lansing are both on a grid system meaning all roads run either north/south or east/west which enables solid connectivity throughout each city and between both cities(including complete connectivity between all subdivisions throughout the entire city). Johns Creek has less than 5 main arteries with no interconnectivity.
    c. The Grand River runs through the center of the city and there are bridges crossing the river every couple of blocks thereby allowing traffic to be distributed throughout the city not just on one or 2 roads. Johns Creek has 2 bridges (one over the Chattahoohee and one over Johns Creek).
    d. There are 4 major highways that go around or through Lansing/East Lansing – I-496 runs through Lansing, I-96 runs on the south end of Lansing/East Lansing connecting Grand Rapids through to Detroit, I-69 goes North from Lansing/East Lansing to Flint and south to Fort Worth Indiana and US27 passes from Buford Highway (Duluth, GA) through Lansing/East Lansing to points north in Michigan. With this increased type of traffic volume there are never more than 20 cars at an intersection due to the interconnectivity of the city. Johns Creek has none of this, and more importantly has done everything possible to close down lesser arteries in the city and pushing more traffic out on to State Bridge and Medlock Bridge..

    2. “Thur’U’s” success is dependent on the U-Turn running along a stretch of 6-8 miles of road with u-turns every ¼ mile in both directions dropping drivers to “neighborhood” or minor roads that are connected on a grid making it “easy” for a driver to avoid traffic.

    3. Plano, Texas implemented a “Thru-U” at an intersection similar to Medlock Bridge/States Bridge several years ago. The intersection has now been restored to its original left turn standard model.

    4. After viewing these links, please review google maps:,+Plano,+TX+75024/@33.0706776,-96.797761,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x864c232ba8ebd265:0x423c2f3e37e5b6f5hat-Michigan-left-553.ece,+Lansing,+MI+48912/@42.7330867,-84.5125519,735m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x8822e9e292763be1:0x18a55f18f487ef83!6m1!1e1

    The intersection in Plano, TX better mirrors Medlock Bridge/States Bridge but there was extreme push back from the community and was removed just a few years after it was opened.

    I just believe this type of experimental intersection should not be tested at Medlock Bridge/States Bridge, the most critical traffic intersection in Johns Creek. If we get this wrong, Johns Creek will experience severe consequences on our property values, businesses and schools.

  6. The link above says in Texas they are removing the mandatory Michigan U Turn, but still leaving the U Turn lane as optional while returning the intersection to a traditional one. Could we possibly try something like that.....have three through lanes and U Turn lane along with current traditional intersection? In Texas they will be leaving the Michigan U turn Left lane and returning to a traditional of both worlds.

  7. The Optional U Turn lane would not have a traffic light. Kind of like how currently there is no traffic light in the turn lane on 141 between St. Ives and States Bridge. I believe in Texas they are also removing the light at the Michigan U Turn, since I would imagine most would turn at the traditional intersection, but this would allow those who maybe missed the left light cycle to continue thru and U Turn without light needed.

  8. @anonymous,

    Wrong. They are using several of our current signaled intersections as the location for the U-turn.

    The single best thing to do at the intersection TODAY is make three lanes straight in all directions. It's also the cheapest.

  9. I agree - Just do three thru lanes for now and plan for an overpass for the long term. Scrap the Michigan U Turn at this intersection. If they really wanted to try it, maybe do the U Turn concept at Abbotts and 141.

  10. If it's the mayor that is holding Tom Black back from being effective then maybe he should resign for the sake of not being at the end of the finger pokers. Or expose the mayor's inefficiencies and possible intimidation? Just a thought...
    It is Mr Black's reputation that is being tarnished, and his abilities that are being questioned. Tom Black is a big boy and should be able to work around obstacles, but does not seem to be able to do so effectively... He an older guy, maybe gotten a bit complacent, and perhaps is in over his head? Our traffic issues are way beyond an easy fix. Maybe, it's time for young fresh ideas, and maybe even some experience in the field that has actually been applied and been successful. Mr. Black has been around for years and nothing positive worth talking about have been implemented.

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