Below is a letter I sent to the City Council of Johns Creek in September of 2015. I will also post the City’s response and my follow-up in additional posts.
Johns Creek City Council,
I watched the work session and heard the discussions once again on traffic on 9/9/2015. I hear repeatedly the increase we have had in traffic is from outside our city and that is the primary reason for our congestion. I have heard it stated much of this traffic is coming from Gwinnett and Forsyth Counties.
Frankly, that is an easy answer for most people to hear and believe to be true. It’s been repeated enough that people believe it to be true without question. Is it true, however? What if it is entirely wrong?
I do not think we are being purposely misled on traffic. Instead, we are choosing the standard answers that we have heard in years past over and over that made sense. But that does not mean that they are the correct answers.
I have shared this information with two of our council members in the past. Unfortunately, I did not receive any feedback, and based on comments stated at the meetings I have observed, it has either been overlooked or dismissed entirely. Yet we are making multi-million dollar decisions on roads and the future shape of travel in Johns Creek.
Here’s what we do know: 1) Our population has increased sharply since 2000. 2) Traffic volumes have not.
If the GDOT data is correct, then we would have to have a shift away from “through traffic” and if our population has increased, then more of our trips would be originating here in Johns Creek, for us to have relatively stable and flat traffic volumes.
Below are the Georgia DOT traffic counts over the last twenty plus years at the sites where the DOT takes annual measurements. Please take a look at this data, and if you have better data, it should be shared.
The five links below represent the annual traffic surveys by the Georgia DOT on 141 just south of the river through Johns Creek, and ending in Forsyth County. I invite you to look at each station. Where are these increases that have lead to our severe congestion during rush hours?
None of these traffic monitoring stations confirm what is being said as to why traffic is worse in Johns Creek. I have looked at traffic from the Georgia DOT along State Bridge Road, 120, and other major roads in Johns Creek. I know and understand what GDOT says are the trends on these roads. I have also looked at surrounding communities, such as Peachtree Industrial Blvd and Pleasant Hill Road, to see what is happening outside of our cities. All of these data points paint a very different picture about traffic.
Is the Georgia DOT wrong? Do we just dismiss this data because it does not fit with our beliefs? Should we let traffic myths drive our decisions?
Or do we have another reason for why traffic is so tied up here? Are you willing to objectively look at it before we spend millions upon millions of dollars on solutions?
More than a fast solution, we need the right solution. And if we spend millions attempting to resolve the wrong problem, what will that solve?
If we do not have good data, we will not have good decisions being made. What data is being used to support the idea that our problems are coming from through traffic?
Better results demand better analysis. I suggest that means giving us a clear picture of where we were, where we are, and where we are headed when it comes to proposed solutions. And I just do not see that when it comes to traffic.
The Georgia DOT gives us a pretty good view of where we were, and where we are. From there we can make educated guesses as to where we are headed. This data from the GDOT is available to anyone that wants to look at it, see what it says, and even question it. One data point you can dismiss. But how can you dismiss them all?
I have looked at this data.
I look forward to a reply.
Once you click on the link, you will then need to click on Annual Statistics. The data is presented both numerically and graphically.