Sandy Springs Revitalization, Inc. serves as a design-build contractor on certain redevelopment projects in the Sandy Springs Overlay District such as this "Demonstration Streetscape" along Roswell Road which was completed in 1996.  Since 1999 SSRI has worked to obtain funding, to design and to  build a $5.5 million dollar extension of the project that will connect neighborhoods with the business district via "transit oriented sidewalks".

The TEA/STP funded project is due to begin construction in June of 2003.  SSRI Marketing Communications has kept the community informed on the progress of the project all along the way with articles in the Milestone and information posted on the web site or distributed over the e-mail network.


Countdown to Construction:  Roswell Road & Johnson Ferry Road Transit Oriented Streetscape

Story for the Sandy Springs Revitalization Milestone newsletter and web site -- April 2002

Serving Up More TE For Sandy Springs
In November of 1999, Sandy Springs Revitalization,  Inc. was successful in leveraging $1.25 million in local funds to get $4.2 million dollars in streetscape and transit improvements for the Sandy Springs Main Street District and neighborhoods along Johnson Ferry Road.  With the local match, the investment totals $5.5 million dollars.

The lion's share of the complex funding for this project comes from federal programs awarded to Sandy Springs Revitalization, Inc. by the Atlanta Regional Commission including $400,000 in Transportation Enhancement dollars (TE) and $3 million in Surface Transportation Program funds (STP). The balance includes appropriations by Fulton County and contributions from SSRI's BLUEPRINT Sandy Springs campaign and local in-kind contributions.

Sandy Springs Revitalization is providing program and construction management services for planning, budgeting, design, public input and construction. The project design consultant, W. K. Dickson and Company, is responsible for completing streetscape master plan documents that incorporate the sidewalk, landscaping and lighting standards that have been adopted under the Sandy Springs Zoning Overlay Ordinance.  The improvements will enhance safety on one of the most hazardous segments of state highway in Georgia.

The project area extends north along Roswell Road from Hammond Drive to the Johnson Ferry intersection, and then west along Johnson Ferry past the fire station to Abernathy Road.

 The areas in front of the commercial properties on Roswell Road and Johnson Ferry will get the "Main Street" treatment -- nine-foot wide sidewalks with brick accents, landscaping, street trees and new pedestrian streetlights. Special brick paved mini-plazas at the corners of intersections in the business district will incorporate pedestrian seating, trash cans and the distinctive crookneck streetlights which can be seen in SSRI's "demonstration block" located between Kinko's and Wendy's on Roswell Road. The project will remove or relocate overhead utilities where possible in the commercial area. 

The Johnson Ferry Road segment would connect the Abernathy Road & River Valley sidewalk systems and the new sidewalk installation in Whispering Pines to the Roswell Road business district. This portion of the project will include two 10-foot travel lanes, 4 foot bicycle lanes on both sides of the road (to be approved and installed by local government in the future) , a 3-foot landscaped strip, pedestrian lights and 6-foot sidewalks with brick accents.   Splitter islands, intended to calm traffic, will create a gentle bow in the roadway in two locations.  The one planned for the portion of the road between Belmont Trace and Long Island Drive (closer to Abernathy intersection) will affect traffic only in the northbound travel lane  The other, planned for a location just below Wright Road (closer to the fire station), will affect traffic only in the southbound travel lane.

Easement Process Now Underway

Randy Hunt is among the 46 business and property owners along Roswell Road and Johnson Ferry Road who will see a few feet of property frontage transformed to create a more walkable environment for shoppers and residents in downtown Sandy Springs. 

Randy’s easement, will grant Fulton County permanent use of his land for the purpose of installing and maintaining the new sidewalks, lights and landscaping planned as part of SSRI’s $5 million dollar Roswell Road/Johnson Ferry Transit Oriented Streetscape Project for Fulton County.

Property owners along the way are being asked to provide anywhere from nine to fifteen feet of frontage for the streetscape. Where signs are affected, new monument style signs will be installed to replace non-conforming pole signs. In some instances, driveway access will be redesigned to reduce the number of curb cuts, enhance pedestrian safety and improve the flow of traffic along the busy roadway. 

According to Steinbeck, the function and appearance of those first few feet of any commercial property are vital to the interests of the property owners and their tenants. Even though businesses and property owners are in virtual unanimous support of the project, it takes a great deal of time and several iterations of the design and easement language to strike the right balance between the needs of the property owners, the businesses and the community as a whole. The many small properties and sheer number of easements complicate an already challenging bureaucratic process.  But, says Steinbeck, the end result will ultimately increase property values and generate more business income by creating a more shopper friendly business district.

During the first quarter of 2002, Georgia Power and BellSouth began removing the old wooden poles from the street and relocating electric, phone and cable service lines underground or at the back of buildings.  Once all the right of way easements for the streetscape itself are in hand Fulton County will  “certify” to the Georgia Department of Transportation that the right-of-way is available.  GDOT will then authorize the funds and enter into the contract with Fulton County that will actually allow the projects’ construction with federal funds.


(Update:  SSRI General Manager Nancy Leathers anticipates groundbreaking for June 2003).