TUCKER, Ga. (May 30, 2017) – For several months Tucker drivers have complained about illegal rush-hour maneuvering at the intersection of Fellowship Road and Lawrenceville Highway (US 29). Southbound drivers on Fellowship are seen routinely cutting across traffic from a left-turn only lane to go straight across Lawrenceville toward Idlewood Road, and even sometimes making right turns from the left turn lane. It’s a move that has led to numerous close calls and has gotten the attention of City Hall.
“We can’t stop selfish drivers from doing stupid things,” Mayor Frank Auman said, “but we can punish them when they do. And we can do some things in the short-term to reduce the frustrations faced by even the most conscientious drivers. The first priority is to ensure the safety of drivers in Tucker and the second is to keep traffic moving at a reasonable pace while maintaining those safe conditions.”
While City leaders are working with DeKalb County Public Works and GDOT on a long-term solution, there has been a noticeable improvement at the intersection in recent weeks. One factor has been the work of DeKalb County Police officers, who have been directed to periodically camp out at the intersection. Officers have written several hundred tickets at the intersection since the start of 2017.
“Eventually drivers get the message that dangerous driving isn’t worth the expense of a ticket,” said Lt. R.S. Smith, Tucker’s police liaison. “This kind of ticket is costing drivers anywhere from $200 in fines all the way up to $1,000. It’s just not worth it.”
Another factor is a recent change to the timing of the stoplights along the Lawrenceville Highway corridor. In the wake of the I-85 bridge collapse, GDOT extended the length of time for green lights along major arteries like US 29 in an effort to help the extra traffic move along. Crossing streets like Fellowship Road saw shorter green light cycles and, therefore, bigger back-ups at rush hour.
“Those lights are now back to their original timing, which is helping to alleviate the back-ups down Fellowship toward Lavista Road,” explained Tucker Assistant City Manager Cindy Jenkins, a professional engineer who has been the City’s lead on collaborating with DeKalb County on this intersection. “We expect to see it improve even more now that school is out for the summer.”
The City of Tucker handles public works through an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with DeKalb County. The two municipalities work hand-in-hand to address traffic issues like the one at Fellowship Rd. and Lawrenceville Hwy.