JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – After the disastrous meeting with McGinnis Ferry Road residents about the widening of McGinnis Ferry and Jones Bridge Road last Thursday night, the City Council decided Monday night to initiate a new round of meetings with resident groups to answer their questions.
To ensure the message is on point and accurate, the meetings will be conducted individually by Mayor Mike Bodker.
“I am the designated spokesman for the City Council, and this will ensure that the information is the same to all members of the community,” Bodker said.
The public meeting last Thursday was supposed to be an update on plans to mitigate the effects of the widening of McGinnis Ferry Road to four lanes and likewise the widening of Jones Bridge Road from Sargent Road to McGinnis Ferry. (See article, this page.)
Instead, it became a harangue of city employees about whether the roads need widening in the first place. Residents said they were not aware of plans to widen the roads until “it was a done deal.”
They said they were worried about the effects the widening would have on their property values and whether by widening the roads the city was instead inviting more traffic.
Georgia Department of Transportation Board member state Sen. Brandon Beach said the project is needed to provide another east-west connection that will run from Ga. 400 to I-85.
“We didn’t have the funding to do the project sooner. Now we do. This will be a vital addition to the transportation corridor,” Beach said. “One of the biggest complaints we have in the region is the lack east-west connectivity.”
It will be an alternative to Old Milton Parkway-State Bridge, Holcomb Bridge Road and Abbotts Bridge Road (Ga. 120), he said.
“GDOT is doing everything it can to minimize the impact on McGinnis,” Beach said.
Johns Creek has put a great deal of focus on minimizing those impacts as well, Bodker said.
“But there have been a lot of mixed-messages out there. So we are starting over and completely reset. People need to know definitively and with finality what will happen,” he said.
That is why Bodker will lead a number of smaller meetings – he favors that because people can open up better and have their concerns addressed.
Residents need to know what and where are arterial roads, collector roads and residential streets in the city he said. Each is designed as part of the overall transportation grid in the city.
The new Ga. 400 exit is a double-edged sword. It means better access to 400 for local residents, but the price is others will use it too.
“But we are going to have one voice so that the information is clear and residents will know what their expectations are.
“We are going to have fruitful, meaningful talks and deal with specifics.”
Bodker said the meetings will begin “as soon as possible.” The city will develop contact information to those affected, but much of that has already been assembled, he said.