Decatur Anticipates Railroad Crossing Improvements Construction to Start in Early 2016

candler crossing

Tonight, the Decatur City Commission will consider signing an agreement with CSX in the amount of $230,000 to pay for a critical piece of the long-discussed (we been talking about it since at LEAST 2009!) railroad crossing improvements at McDonough and Candler Streets.

According to a letter from Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon to the commission, this amount is related to the construction that will occur within the CSX right-of-way. CSX requires that it will install the new surfaces in the right of way at both crossings and review and approve all plans.

According to Mr. Saxon, CSX estimates the costs for this piece of the project as…

  • Engineering and Construction Inspections – $37,000
  • McDonough Crossing – Flagging and Construction – $96,500
  • Candler Crossing – Flagging and Construction – $96,500

Check out the original plan for the Candler crossing above and the McDonough crossing below.   You can also find out more about these projects on the city’s website.

The City was awarded Transportation Enhancement project money for a large part of the total cost for these crossing improvements way back in 2008, but all the coordination with the many parties involved (CSX, GDOT, etc), destined it to be a long, drawn out process.  Could it finally be happening?

mcdonough crossing

19 thoughts on “Decatur Anticipates Railroad Crossing Improvements Construction to Start in Early 2016”

  1. No more left turns from McDonough onto Howard for folks approaching from south of the tracks?

  2. So, College Ave is going to be TERRIBLE every morning with no left turn across the tracks from either McDonough or Candler. UGH!

  3. I wonder what will happen at the Atlanta crossing. That one is already confusing enough without extra traffic from McDonough going that way to get on Howard.

  4. Re: Candler St. Will or will there not be a way to go north from the crossing to N Candler St directly? The original plan said that little cut-through the triangle would be cut off, but an open house thing I went to a year or so ago indicted it would not be.
    DM, could you ask Amanda or someone to clarify? It’s really stupid and traffic-clogging for those folks going that way to make an acute right turn followed by an immediate left as opposed to just going through the little triangle as they do now. As I understand, the idea of no left turns from the crossing to E Howard is to enhance traffic flow, but making folks jig-jog to get to N Candler, which many do, would have the opposite effect.

  5. Re: McDonough St. Until DeKalb traffic engineering, who IMO can’t install a stop sign correctly, or somebody who knows really what they are doing can figure out how to make the signalling work better, a smoother surface won’t do a bit of good, especially since it appears the lane configurations aren’t going to change.

  6. What’s interesting is that we have been able to create an experiment in traffic management that is often unavailable, and that experiment shows we badly need to keep open the left turn from Candler onto Howard. For the last few months with Howard Avenue being closed, the stretch on College from Columbia Drive to Renfroe has gone from a 10 minute commute to a 20 minute or more commute many mornings. It turns out that Howard Avenue provides an extremely valuable relief valve for traffic going to the High School or towards downtown Atlanta. Forcing all of that traffic onto College has created a real problem, adding traffic and pollution. I am unaware of any traffic accident stats that showed the left turn actually created a hazard. I hope they reconsider that issue.
    Also, I see no mention of erecting the kinds of railroad crossing gates to create a quiet zone. I did not see it mentioned in the article or in Hugh Saxon’s letter. I presume and hope that is not being contemplated. With the number of schools we have flanking the tracks and the density of the population in general and pedestrians in particular along this stretch, a quiet zone seems far too dangerous to me. If that is part of this project, please let us know.

  7. Hmmmm. With no left turn at either Candler or McDonough for people who are traveling from the south side of town, I suspect a lot of traffic will begin taking Commerce under the tracks and turning left onto Sycamore Place, then heading right onto Howard. Once they hit Trinity, I imagine folks with either turn right toward downtown or attempt to turn left and then make the hard right on Howard to head toward the high school or Dekalb Avenue. I think the lack of left turns onto Howard after crossing the tracks at both intersections will lead to rerouting a lot of traffic onto Trinity or Commerce.

    However, in the grand scheme of things, I think making both intersections safer for pedestrians and bicyclists is worth losing the left turn and making it harder for automotive traffic to get to the high school and Dekalb Avenue.

  8. If UPS can deliver a million billion packages per day without making left turns, we can get along just fine without them.

  9. They started experimenting a little early with a permanent red light on McDonough heading south over the tracks during the afternoon rush hour. When a light does not change for two consecutive cycles you just have to use your good judgment and go when safe.

  10. I attended tonight’s meeting and now wish I had read these comments in advance. When the proposal came up for public comment, a gentleman rose to object to the no left turn from Commerce to Howard. He said it would make his family’s trip to Decatur Ballet much more difficult. I objected to the no left turn because small businesses on Howard depend on vehicular traffic. Closing off one street to their location is sure to cause a decrease in paying customers. And for what, to appease the few pedistrian and bike gods?
    OK, a little over the top but sitting here at the Irish joint on the square (spell check won’t let me say Mac McGees), I’m gettin my right wing thang on.
    Another nail in the small business coffin.
    On a more positive note, Decatur may be pleased that my “Request and Petition” comment had nothing to do with the Confederate Memorial.
    Ending always at a commission meeting, “May God continue to bless the commissioners, their families, all our men and women in uniform and the United States of AMerica.

  11. Would it be worth considering a safe drop/pickup zone on the south side of the tracks and let kids walk to the high school?

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