Stephens Drive unfortunately serves a lot of non-local traffic. The image on the right shows a typical rush hour on Stephens, looking towards the new construction at Briar Cove on Briarcliff Road. Those cars are waiting at Briarcliff, a 2-lane road with no shoulder, inadequate sidewalks, a blind curve, and no traffic light. The construction you see on the left is 19 townhouses coming out a driveway which used to service 1 single family home. This stretch connects Sage Hill to Lavista and is a major thoroughfare between Midtown, Virginia Highlands, Emory, and Children’s Hospital. Making a left turn is a life or death decision! Can you imagine what this will be like with another 40+ cars added to it? Already it takes residents 5-10 minutes just to drive 1000 feet! Looking below at the map, you can see Stephens is circled in red. While originally a small neighborhood street, it has become the cut-through of choice for people trying to get from Clifton to Briarcliff but avoiding the traffic by Sage Hill by driving up Burton (orange, purple) and for people trying to get from Briarcliff to Lavista and vice/versa while avoiding the traffic by Whole Foods.
The result is that (as Google shows here on a Friday afternoon), we get a line of cars at both ends of Stephens, with one end waiting to turn onto Briarcliff and the other end waiting to turn on Biltmore. The Stephens/Briarcliff intersection is the worst because Biltmore will end up with stand-still traffic, and just making a left turn can take several minutes per car.
Here you can see a section of Stephens that is 0.2 miles away from the intersection of Stephens/Briarcliff, and a line of cars that continues to extend towards Biltmore. With no light at Briarcliff, these lines can take 15 minutes or more to clear.
This line of cars doesn’t even show how bad it is today. Now there is a hole in Stephens, which Dekalb has solved with an orange marker. Cars now have to swerve around it. Little care has gone into Stephens prior to approving this new bottleneck on a road that gets far too much traffic as it is.
Hence another reason the new development at Stephens and Briarcliff, with 19 additional units (which could be 40+ additional cars) is concerning to us without additional traffic control measures.