Where are Decatur’s Worst Bottlenecks?

The AJC blows our collective, commuting minds this morning with the list of the 10 worst traffic “bottlenecks” in Georgia from T.R.I.P., the The Road Information Program. You can read T.R.I.P.’s full release HERE.

Eight of the top ten worst traffic travesties are highways, starting with the I-75/I-85 connector down to I-285’s intersections of I-20 and U.S.78.

Also included on the list at #7 is Atlanta’s Amtrak station, which is “outdated” and “no longer meets Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and causes delays on the entire Norfolk Southern mainline when a train loads and unloads passengers”, and MARTA’s Bankhead/Candler Park 2-car train.

And though the Decatur metro area has nothing on TRIP’s Top 50 worst bottlenecks in Georgia list (PDF), I’m sure every car commuter in the area has got a an intersection or strip of roadway that they personally despise.

Where do you do your best cursing?  South Candler at College?  North Decatur at Clairmont?

20 thoughts on “Where are Decatur’s Worst Bottlenecks?”


  1. South Candler at College is a special sort of hell, but North Decatur at Clairmont pisses me off more because it seems like they could fix the situation if they just readjusted the timing on the traffic lights.

  2. South Candler at College and McDonough/Howard at College, especially if you are coming from Howard trying to turn left on McDonough.

  3. South Candler at College desperately needs turning lanes in all directions. Some sidewalk improvements wouldn’t hurt either.

  4. North Decatur at Clairmont hands down. Additional right turn lanes and better timed lights would do a world of good there.

    A close second is Clairmont at Scott Blvd.

  5. College Ave. turning left onto Atlanta Avenue. If the first person at the light at Howard doesn’t turn right on red (and this happens all the time) then at heavy traffic times, cars back up onto College in both directions. Also, the intersection at Commerce and Ponce when you are traveling west on Ponce and someone is waiting to turn left into the Taco Mac parking lot.

  6. I agree with College and South Candler but would add College and Commerce. This intersection needs turn lights badly. In fact all of College could benefit with turn lights. Does the railroad make this difficult or complicated?

  7. The Commerce and Clairemont/Church and Clairemont intersections always aggravate me as well – mostly because of the timing on the lights. In fact, the timing on all of the lights in the COD seems off to me.

    1. Thank the good folks of DeKalb County for that!

      I’ve always found the length of the light at Northern/Nelson Ferry and Ponce to be ridiculously long in the Ponce direction until I saw an afternoon back-up of cut-through folks sitting 8 deep on Nelson Ferry waiting for the light.

      Maybe waiting those two, very long minutes is worth it!

    2. Commerce and Clairemont is an intersection I know. But where do Church and Clairemont intersect?

  8. My house overlooks the lovely Ponce/Scott triangle. The good news is that I can see the banners from my window so I always know what’s going on in Decatur. The very bad news is that I have an up close and personal view of the many, many wrecks which occur there. Several every week, without exaggeration. It’s not a bottleneck without a wreck, but you can almost count on a wreck or fender-bender.

  9. Hands down – the intersection of Clairemont and Scott…..the light at that location is ridiculously quick for people on Clairemont…..traffic backs up coming into and going out of Decatur.

  10. When traveling west on Commerce, the right lane should be Right Turn Only onto Clairemont. That is a stupid bottleneck that is made worse by the occasional driver going straight and sitting through the green right turn arrow.

  11. I would have to agree with others that the railroad crossings are some of the most inadequate and scariest intersections in town. The Trinity to Candler route bugs me the most but they are all frustrating. And while the Ponce/Scott island seems well enough designed for me, agree that SOMETHING is going wrong because crashes at that intersection can be heard all over town, especially at night. I think it’s the speed of the cars making the errors, not so much a bottleneck. Also agree that the Clairemont/Scott and Clairemont/N. Decatur intersections are frustrating because they seem fixable, e.g. converting through lane to another turn lane which would have the benefit of reducing the turn waiting time and also reducing the speed of through drivers. But maybe DOT wouldn’t allow…?

    Other favorite worsts:

    – Perceived bottleneck: Any left on to a residential street off of Scott Blvd heading south and downhill: Cars seem to feel that heading South on Scott gives them the right to use it as a blasting off ramp and they just about ram you or lose it if you interrupt their blast-off, no matter how much you signal and brake ahead to warn them. I pump my brakes like crazy to give as much warning as possible that my car is stopping or stopped. So I guess I’m the single-car bottleneck but I’m just trying to turn left!

    – Driving through downtown on Ponce or Church is always a bottleneck but that’s ok because it’s a destination area, not just a conduit to someplace else, and the traffic slowing is a good thing for cyclists and pedestrians.

  12. S. Candler and College is pretty rough. Traveling West and attempting to turn left (South) onto Candler is awful. Heading North over the railroad tracks I don’t understand why anyone *really* needs to turn left onto Howard. The left turner always causes a snarl around the tracks, and could just as easily get to Howard by continuing straight to Church and turning left.

    The whole section of W. Trinity between Church and the railroad tracks is generally just a nightmare. Too much awkward stuff happening.

    Also, the snarl vehicles heading East on Commerce to turn left on Church to leave Decatur is always fun.

  13. How about favorite Decatur by-passes? I learned quickly (see all comments above) to go around the city to get from one side to the other. On the east side of town we have the option of going under or over the railroad tracks. Praise be!

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