Challenging ‘the world seen through Steve Brown’s eyes’
With the acceptance of Judge Timothy Batten’s redistricting map, it is time to look at this year’s commission election. Since I live in Peachtree City and reside in the new District 3, as does Steve Brown, that is the focus of this letter.
In discussing Steve Brown with another person, they made an excellent statement. That being, “The world seen through the eyes of Steve Brown,” meaning he does not need engineering reports or any other data to decide the right answer.
Look at what he stated regarding the water department and IT employees and the SPLOST. Then compare it to the facts and results. They do not match up.
Now look at his current reported statements on the election and the intersection of Ga. Highway 74 and I-85. Again, what he said does not match the reality.
Chairman Steve Brown said for the election it would take at least two months to prepare for the qualifying period. But County Administrator Steve Rapson says they are ready to go on schedule the beginning of March.
Who is correct? Steve Rapson.
Qualifying is the filing of standardized state forms that contain personal information, the position being sought and paying the qualifying fee. The county verifies your forms are correct and you live in the district indicated. Done.
It will take longer to figure out where the polling places will be for voting. But they have until May to do so. Plenty of time.
If you want copies of the 2012 commission, NAACP and Judge Batten’s maps, they are available for download on donhaddix.com.
Next, the intersection of Hwy. 74 and I-85.
This is not a new issue, has many people involved and no single person is heading up the effort. It predates Steve Brown running for commission in 2010 and my running for council in 2007.
It was an issue of discussion in 2008 and 2009 when studying and formulating the 2010 Transportation Plan. It was a high-ranked project for the T-SPLOST referendum and still is today for the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) and Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT).
Steve Brown took a position favoring a partial clover leaf (PCL) design back in 2012 when GDOT held public hearings. He rejected using a diverging diamond intersection (DDI) without any engineering or other data to support him.
As mayor, I met and discussed many issues with GDOT, including Hwy. 74 and I-85.
Steve Brown says GDOT is looking at a diverging diamond intersection only because it is cheaper, which is false. Fact is they are looking for the best design, plus the DDI has been on the table for years as a potential solution.
He claims a DDI has a shorter lifespan. Having done research, there is no evidence supporting this statement.
He says all the engineers support the PCL. Yet Phil Mallon, the county engineer, said when the evaluation is complete that will tip the scales in favor of the PCL or DDI.
In my discussions with GDOT, their engineers were waiting for the results of the evaluation process. They took no preferential position for one design over the other.
Do your own research and you will see on a DDI versus a PCL it is like the a traffic light vs. a roundabout. Each has it strengths and weaknesses. In one place one is superior and another place the other. Read the reviews of the I-285 and Ashford Dunwoody DDI, Pleasant Hill Road at I-85 DDI and the plans for more DDIs in Cobb County.
In using DDIs in very congested areas, my experience was the traffic moved much more efficiently and quickly. In studies in other locations where installed, the public was initially skeptical and opposed, but found them easier to use, safer and more efficient in moving traffic than a PCL.
The proximity of Ella Lane and Oakley Industrial Boulevard to the Hwy. 74/I-85 intersection complicates either design. The GDOT engineers agreed with me they will stop traffic on the PCL ramps.
So, which design is better? Neither Steve Brown, engineers, I nor anyone else knows at this point in time.
We need to let the evaluation be completed and then look at the engineering reports and recommendations. Until then I do not support one over the other. No one should.
GDOT and I agreed once traffic merges back into four lanes after the intersection area, nothing is planned that gives any relief on the 74 Corridor into Fayette.
GDOT still only has one recommendation for 74/54, just as in 2010, that being a split grade intersection.
Related to this issue are the follow-up projects wanted by Steve Brown and me. Steve Brown wants a Hwy. 92 intersection and improvements at Hwy. 138 and I-85. I want ramps connecting I-85 to Fischer Road.
For Hwy. 138, GDOT and I agree it is far too complicated, far too costly and will do nothing for traffic in Fayette other than add congestion. It has absolutely no benefit for Peachtree City.
We agree adding two ramps from Fischer Road to I-85 will give some traffic relief for 74/54, the 74 Corridor, Tyrone and 74/I-85. It is also a very low-cost project.
Steve Brown does not support Fischer, even though he lives in Planterra Ridge where the Line Creek developer wants to connect his property to Planterra Way and add yet another traffic light to Hwy. 54, increasing traffic congestion.
Some have said Fischer is not a plan or project. Neither is Hwy. 92 or Hwy. 138. They are all proposals, but Fischer is one GDOT likes. It will be looked at later for evaluation.
With redistricting now a reality, it is more important than ever for decisions to be based on facts, transparency and engagement in full and honest discussions.
Peachtree City, Ga.
[Haddix is the former mayor of Peachtree City.]