This is an interchange I was never particularly fond of, even when I knew nothing about urban planning and that highways and byways were just cool. Even in terms of accomplishing every traffic engineer's wet dream of getting CAR from Point A to Point B as fast as possible, I think it falls short. First of all, you can't go northbound on May from eastbound on the NW Expressway. Second of all, cloverleaf ramps are dangerous, especially with next to zero merging room.
Throwing the traffic engineer hat in the garbage where it belongs, and looking at this from an urban planning perspective, this intersection is just horrendous. Oh my, the wasted space. There's actually quite a bit of dense development around here. Oh my, the wasted opportunities. It's almost as if the planners of this interchange were attempting to prevent connectivity at all costs. (You can click on the image above to see the lay of the land close-up.)
Why does this even matter? Because now May & NWX is seeing a ton of development. First it was the new Super Target. Then, it was the new Dave & Buster's and other adjoining cluster of businesses across May. Now, further west just behind the new D&B, the Tiffany Apartments are getting a total makeover. New glass cladding will give a butt ugly, aging residential high-rise that was fast falling on tenement status a new lease on its own life. The $32 million redevelopment project will revitalize this complex and bring back high-rent capacity.
What if we could get a do-over and have this intersection at-grade, complete with a streetscape project, pedestrian crossings, etc. Right now, THERE'S NOT EVEN A SIDEWALK ON THE NORTHWEST EXPRESSWAY (Voice of Zeus)!!! Every time I drive down the Expressway I see several sad souls drudging it out on the grass beside the ROW, some of them even waiting for the bus to come, despite NO sidewalk. It's insane.
I'd say the Northwest Expressway could easily have been our Peachtree Boulevard. But instead, we just had to let engineers near the plans for it. Peachtree Boulevard in Atlanta: