Friday, December 9, 2011

Back to Work

Like many folks, I have a day job that keeps the cash flow coming in to allow me and my family to enjoy our life. The past 3-4 months have been quite busy with the addition of local elections. I made a decision to stick my neck out and become involved. First by putting on the first ever Candidate Forum on Sustainability held in the Southeast. Second, by endorsing and supporting local candidates.

Now that the dust has settled -- and my day job and personal life allows it, I'm going to get back in the saddle again focusing on my little abode of Dunwoody on becoming a Bicycle Friendly Community like our neighbors to the north in Roswell - except that ours will first focus on kids & families, rather than the racing / spandex crowd. No disrespect to my friends in Roswell, but Dunwoody already has you beat with our Safe Routes to School programs like this at Kingsley where they received a grant of nearly $500k to improve conditions. Our ready-made grid of Mt Vernon (E-W) and Chamblee-Dunwoody  / Roberts Dr is much more condensed and accessible to link our residential neighborhoods with our "Villages". Once Bike Lanes, Paths or Trails are established and connected along these two corridors, you'll see an explosion of use.

One of the action items I'll be working on over the next 60 days is establishing a Non-Motorized Transportation Committee per Dunwoody's November, 2009 Resolution on an Action Plan to Become a Bicycle Friendly Community.  Instead of paying some consulting firm or hiring additional staff, in keeping with the theme of a small and efficient government, this is a great model to leverage citizen volunteer work and partnering with city staff and elected officials to get things done. The committee will be formed under the Sustainability Commission and notices sent out similar to other city committees. Once established, I am also working with staff to provide committee agendas, minutes on the city's website. If you're interested in joining the committee, just let me know.

Secondly, we had some great press in the Crier with the installation of Bike Racks in Dunwoody Village last month. Thanks to friends at the Dunwoody Preservation Trust, the proceeds from this year's Bicycle Ride Around Dunwoody during Lemonade Days were used to purchase and install these. Special thanks to DPT President Sam Portis and local bike-rack advocate Mitch Garber for making this a reality. Just another small example of the things we can do when you bring people together. (Off topic here -- but what's going to happen to the old rail house that is for sale where the Chamber of Commerce used to be? Would hate to see it torn down like the rest of them were.)

Lastly, it's always nice to have some more "feel good" moments and celebrations. Look for a ribbon cutting ceremony in the upcoming weeks dedicating the new Bicycle Lanes on Roberts Drive done as part of the $2M 2011 Capital Paving Project.  For more on that, go here. We're waiting for the city's contractor to paint the lane markings and installation of signage. It will be held on a Saturday mid-morning at Austin Elementary. Bring your bike and we can go out for a short out & back ride together. The city will put out a press release in advance.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Children’s Bike Rodeo: 10/29

The City of Dunwoody Parks & Recreation is proud to present a Children’s Bike Rodeo at Brook Run Park the morning of Saturday October 29th. This event is free and open to the public. Bring the kids for some great fun and learning about safe riding! Kids need to bring their own bikes and helmets. We will have a limited number of helmets for children in need of them. There will be a raffle of door prizes, too!

The rodeo will consist of several stations:

Helmet fitting station
Bike inspection station
Obstacles, (safe riding lessons)
Bike Security
”Graduation” Bike Ride in the Park with Dunwoody Police and Much More!

Participants should bring their bikes and an adult for registration

What:       Children’s Bike Rodeo
When:       Sat Oct 29, 8am-12pm
Where:      Brook Run Park, at the former administrative buildings
Immediate left from North Peachtree entrance. Park your vehicle on right, near Skate Park – or ride your bikes!
Why:        Teach your kids to ride safely and have fun doing it!

City Calendar listing


Brent Walker
Dunwoody Parks & Rec Director
(678) 382-6850


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Bicycling & Pedestrian Article from Sandy Springs

I have a Google Alert anytime my name pops up in the Internet. Just got one this morning and will share. About a week ago, I was contacted by the Sandy Springs Reporter and detailed my experiences and viewpoint about bicycling in Sandy Springs and what I've heard from the city. First off, I'm not with the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition as quoted. Secondly, I didn't say EVERY street project needs to be a "Complete Street".

Coming from the military,  I like to see policies, ordinances and other published guidelines that INFORM the public. It's not that I'm "misinformed", as quoted by my Sandy Springs bicycling friend on their Council. Rather, their city isn't informing the public about their plans or policies.

What's so wrong with adopting a Complete Streets policy? Of re-striping to 10-ft lane widths on a 35 mph road? Of creating an Action Plan to become a Bike Friendly Community? Of establishing a community volunteer committee for non-motorized transportation? Of actively partnering -- and establishing formal relationships -- with the local schools and promoting Safe Routes to School?

I'm not from Missouri, but just please show me.

Click here for the story.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Comments from Cobb's Transportation Roundtable Public Meeting

Last night I attended a Public Meeting of the Atlanta Regional Roundtable in Cobb County regarding the proposed 1% sales tax in 2012 to fund $6.1 Billion in transportation projects in the Metro Atlanta area over a ten year period. I was one of seven random people chosen to speak for two minutes at the end. Here's an article from last night. Some people quoted in the story must think there's some type of conspiracy theory going on, because six of  the speakers last night spoke in favor of it. The county previously held other smaller local-based town hall meetings that  I did not participate in. At those, apparently many were opposed to rail and transit. Anyway, had I had four minutes to speak last night, here's what I would have said:

The Cobb Complete Streets Policy – unanimously adopted by the County Commission in January, 2009 states:

"Safe access for ALL users – including motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians and transit users, including individuals with disabilities and senior citizens, in the planning, design, construction and operation of streets with its jurisdiction."

The Cobb County Bicycle/Pedestrian Plan was adopted in 2010.

In the Cobb 2010 SPLOST, $278M is budgeted for roads. Unfortunately, zero is budgeted for on-street bicycling facilities.

Think bicycles shouldn’t be on the road because they don’t pay for them? Think again. We’ve been heavily subsidizing motor vehicles to use public roads for decades. Most bicyclists I know are white collar professionals, paying property, income and sales taxes. AND they drive cars & pay fuel taxes, too.

Do you know where the funds come from to pay for the roads? Revenues from motor vehicle fuel taxes and other fees only account for just over 50% of the cost of building and maintaining roads and bridges. The remaining amount comes from property taxes, general fund allocations, bond issues, etc. It has been the government's role at all levels for the past several decades to heavily subsidize and reallocate wealth to support motor vehicle transportation. 

Walking & Biking make up 12% of all the trips in the US, sadly account for 14 percent of all fatal traffic crash victims on our nation's highways., yet only receive 1.2% of the total Federal transportation funding. A pedestrian or bicyclist death or injury affects us all, especially one that could be prevented through better engineering and design by accommodating all users of the road network.

Nearly 25% of trips within the US are less than 2 miles; bicycles use no gas or cause pollution; in Metro Atlanta and we had 30 days of Code Orange smog alerts this summer. When I moved here in 1984, we didn’t have any. Georgia's obesity rate has doubled in the last 15 years; and bicycling is a great way to get a bit of healthy and family-friendly exercise.

In Georgia, bicycles are defined as a vehicle, are legally protected and are able to use the publicly owned right of way on our roads -- which we all own together.

Across the region, you're finding parents and elected officials coming together to add bike lanes and paths so their children can choose to walk or ride their bike to school via Safe Routes to School programs. That makes one less car on the road in the morning if the parent normally drives their child to school. Multiply that times the thousands of parents each day driving their kids back & forth to school across Metro Atlanta, and that adds up to REAL dollars we're sending to the Middle East each day to feed our fuel addiction.

As Sam Olens says, we need to work as a REGION. Look at widening Johnson Ferry road south of the River. It took 20 years to happen. Just because it was in a DIFFERENT county?

When you go on vacation – say overseas - where do you say you’re from? People say Atlanta. Not East Cobb. We need REGIONAL leadership and planning. Not just focused on “my” neighborhood. I work from home, so why should I be concerned about needing regional transit? Yet we are all related by cause and effect. 

Do we want to become a world class city? Then we have got to have a world class multi-modal transit system. For examples in the south, look at Charlotte and Dallas. They’re passing us by with transit. Denver just received $1 Billion in Federal transit funds.

We are so connected. People move to Cherokee or Forsyth, because of low “cost of living”. Yet, I’m expected to pay for their commute every morning. 30% of pollution is caused by motor vehicles, which contributes to asthma. Asthma is the number one cause for admission into Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Milton Friedman uses the term “Neighbor Effect”. If your economic activity has a negative impact on me, you need to pay for it. So think again, if your transportation activity has an impact on others. The answer is clearly YES.

Do you know what’s at the bottom of every GDOT stationary? “Georgia is the 6th fastest-growing state in the nation, yet 49th in per capita spending on transportation.”. We must do something now.

Metro Atlanta rose up and secured the 1996 Olympics. We added heavy rail connections with MARTA. We improved – a bit – of our infrastructure then. We need another Billy Payne to bring us all together again on this effort today.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Why do Parents Drive their Kids to School?

The following are my thoughts concerning a posting from the Dunwoody Talk Blog entry regarding traffic backups caused by parents driving their kids to & from school:"A Problem that Needs Fixing"

I respectfully disagree with the basis of your argument on this human-made problem. It completely misses the cause that parents drive their kids to & from school voluntarily. That's it. Do we a society need to reallocate wealth to encourage this behavior? 30 years ago, this was unheard of.

On this Constitution Day, this is an interesting debate in the role of government and our publicly-funded education system. Is it an essential role of the school system or the local municipality to reallocate wealth & resources to manage this human-made problem? What offsetting reductions in government services or funding have been identified to pay for this? My DeKalb School & county taxes are high enough, thank you.

Recently, I've met a couple of parents that habitually drive their kids EVERY DAY to & from school, leaving their cars idling & spewing carbon dioxide into the air for our children to breathe. Another DES parent who volunteers with their Safe Routes to School program told me that parents have SCOLDED HER when she asked them if they would turn off their idling cars. She's now so intimidated and threatened, that she's not saying anything to these parents any longer.

We have had over 30 days of smog alerts in the Metro Atlanta area this year. When I moved here, we didn’t have ANY smog alerts. Now people are just taking them as a matter of fact and a bygone conclusion. Our children are getting asthma at an alarming rate and that smog is an asthma trigger. Asthma is one of the most common chronic illnesses in children and the #1 reason for admission to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. Cars cause up to 30% of the smog & pollution we breathe each day. Following Milton Friedman's Neighbor Effect, if an economic activity has a detrimental effect on another, you need to pay for it. And I guess the price of gasoline still isn’t high enough to make behavior change and to consider an alternate than driving your child to school.

What has happened in the past 30 years that this “parent-driving” is such a necessary regular routine? It was an extremely rare and special occurrence for a parent to pick up a kid when I was in school in the 70's. As you have evidenced locally, nationally, up to 25% of rush-hour traffic can be attributed to parents driving their kids to school. Instead of immediately looking for government to step in and spend taxpayer funds to increase motor vehicle capacity and throughput, encouraging this behavior, how about putting together other ways of allowing children to walk/ride their bikes or take the bus to school? Apply some type of carrot/stick method to positively encourage NOT having parents drive their kids to school every day.

As Pattie mentions, what's worse with DES, is that the principal HOLDS BACK kids that want to walk or ride their bikes to school UNTIL THE END, adding insult to injury. After all of the carpools & buses have left. Flip this around, please and REWARD those good kids and their parents that encourage this healthy activity.

Woodland is over in the city of Sandy Springs, where their annual budget is $78M, or $829 per capita. Dunwoody's annual budget is $20M, or $434 per capita. Please don't compare our rich neighbors in Sandy Springs to Dunwoody for funding and expenditures.  
The answer is developing a strong Safe Routes to School program, applying the tenets of Complete Streets and applying a carrot/stick to ENCOURAGE taking the bus, walking or riding a bike and DISCOURAGE parents from driving a motor vehicle on to school property.

FYI, about Georgia Law and riding a bike on the sidewalk:
During the 2009 session, Georgia legislators passed Senate Bill 196 to amend Title 40 (motor vehicles and traffic). The amendment allows local governments to let children 12 and under bike on sidewalks, and states that no others can operate vehicles on sidewalks (a bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle in Georgia). Other aspects of the bill increase the fines and jail time for motorists who seriously injure cyclists or pedestrians.
(40-6-144) "Except as provided by resolution or ordinance of a local government for sidewalks within the jurisdiction of such local government authorizing the operation of bicycles on sidewalks by persons 12 years of age or younger, no person shall drive any vehicle upon a sidewalk or sidewalk area except upon a permanent or duly authorized driveway."

What the Dunwoody Ordinance has to say:

I did a text search in our Dunwoody Code for “bicycle” and did not find anything specifically mentioning authorizing riding a bicycle on the sidewalk if they are over the age of 12, etc.

The closest thing I could find was in  Article I, Section 30-5 Skateboards and Bicycles

“Whenever any person is riding a bicycle or skating upon a sidewalk, that person shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give audible signal before overtaking and passing the pedestrian.”


Friday, September 16, 2011

Senate Passes Transportation Bill - Including Transportation Enhancements

Yesterday, the Senate passed a clean extension on the Transportation Bill with a large margin of 92-6, keeping the important Transportation Enhancements.  This means that all current transportation funding and programs will continue to March 31, 2012 — the date the extension expires. During this time we will have much work to do to ensure that bicycling is included in either a long term transportation bill or another extension. Both GA Senators voted "yea" on the clean extension. Give them a call & say thanks!

Chambliss: (202) 224-3521
Isakson: (202) 224-3643
Say hello to keeping things like the TE grant for nearly $500k that Kingsley Elementary received for their Safe Routes to School program, helping kids to be able to walk or ride their bike to school.

Say hello to keeping things like the TE grant that we got for Dunwoody Village Parkway to redesign a 4-lane 25 MPH motor vehicle-only "speedway", into a Complete Street accessible for ALL users, to include pedestrians and bicyclists.

Oklahoma Senator Coburn spoke on the Senate floor demanding that Transportation Enhancements be stripped from the Extension of the SurfaceTransportation bill. Coburn "agreed to drop his opposition in exchange for assurances that a highway program that funds bike paths and other "transportation enhancements" will be eliminated at a later point." We'll see what happens come next March...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Time to Take Action — A Major Attack on Bicycle Funding

House Republican response to passing a “clean” extension to the Federal transportation program includes an explicit demand that funding for bicycling and walking infrastructure be stripped out of the program.

The following message is extracted from Andy Clarke, Executive Director of the League of American Bicyclists:


The current transportation bill that funds highway, transit and bike/pedestrian improvements across the country basically expires at the end of this month. Congress either has to write a new law (highly unlikely) or agree to continue or extend the existing program for a set period until they write a new long-term law for the next five or six years. And, they can either pass a “clean” extension – not changing anything, just continuing what we’ve had since 2005 – or they might try to change a few things along the way.
Senator Coburn (OK) has said he won’t agree to an extension unless funding for bike projects is stripped out. Representatives Boehner and Cantor have basically said the same thing in the House. Yes, folks, they are willing to hold the entire transportation program hostage – infrastructure spending and millions of real jobs – to get rid of bike projects.
Today, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved their extension bill. It’s clean. Most likely, Coburn will try to force a vote on the floor of the Senate next week to strip out the popular transportation enhancements program…which funds the lion’s share of bike and pedestrian projects around the country. So, if you’ve ridden on a bike trail or bike lanes, or used a bike rack on the front of a bus in the last few years…the chances are you’ve seen the program in action. And if Coburn, Cantor and Boehner succeed, we’ll see a dramatic drop-off in bicycling safety improvements.
Why would they do this, I hear you ask. After all, bike projects create jobs; bike projects improve safety; more bicyclists means less congestion, cleaner air, less oil consumption, fitter and healthier American’s. It’s baffling. It’s not like the transportation program is going to be cut by the amount they strip out for bike funding…no, the money still gets spent but it will likely buy us another mile or two of freeway instead of thousands of small-scale, labor-intensive bicycling and walking improvements.

Equally, the enhancements program is hardly eating up a massive chunk of the transportation program. Even though Cantor and Boehner like to leave the impression that it’s ten percent of the transportation program…it isn’t. Not even close. It’s ten percent of one of dozens of programs that make up the overall program. In fact, enhancements account for barely one percent of Federal transportation funds.

Another myth you’ll hear – most likely from Coburn’s camp – is that states will still be able to spend their funds on bicycling projects if they choose to do so. While that’s technically true, the reality is that most states will stop spending a dime on bike projects overnight. Utah has already stopped their program in anticipation; they just can’t wait!

We have to stop them. We need to save cycling! Go to our on-line advocacy center right now to contact your members of Congress. Tell them you support continued dedicated funding for bicycling and walking projects, and you support a clean extension to the transportation bill.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Patience, Grasshopper

Let there be light
One of the reasons my wife and I chose to live in our neighborhood was that we could WALK to something. We live within a five minute walk of an array of shops, restaurants, a grocery store and local markets. About 200 feet from the entrance to my neighborhood is a 4-way stop sign intersection. At nighttime, the intersection was pitch black. Many times, vehicle drivers only come to a rolling stop, especially at night when they don't see any bright headlights coming in the opposite direction. Otherwise, it's a mesh-mosh of vehicles playing chicken with each other, seeing who gets to go first after getting to the stop sign. It's tough enough for vehicles, let alone a poor pedestrian attempting to make the crossing. 

Earlier last year I spoke up about adding pedestrian safety features this intersection. I met with city staff and discussed with a couple of council members. Just in the last day or two we now have a nice, well-lit illuminated intersection, thanks to the Dunwoody Public Works Department, namely the Director, Michael Smith. Mr. Smith worked over several months of following-through with Georgia Power to make this happen.

Like to walk safely somewhere? Considering moving to a new neighborhood? Consider your Walk Score. Ask new developers, municipal planners, zoning and elected officials to ensure they have policies and budgets in place to support your ability to walk instead of being held hostage to a motor vehicle, stuck in the 1950's. I know there's some people that think that Atlantans won't ever leave their cars. But every day people are proving that false. We just need to keep up with concepts such as Complete Streets and continue retrofitting our communities. It's a generational initiative to be passed forward.

Ask, and maybe eventually you'll receive. Just complain and not engage, and nothing will happen. So just have some patience, be reasonable and understand that you're not going to get everything you ask for all the time. But this is sure nice to see.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Another Bicycle Commuter in Dunwoody

In the current edition of one of our local papers, The Dunwoody Crier, there's an article referencing a woman that lives in Dunwoody and is relocating her business to Dunwoody as well. The lead quote from her? "I’ll be able to ride my bike to work”.

Her offices will be on the segment of North Shallowford that is having bike lanes installed this year as part of resufacing. No additional widening of the road. No acquiring rights-of-way. Just by simply taking the travel lanes down to 10-feet. It's called "Routine Accommodation" and in the final recommendations to municipalities in the 2007 Atlanta Regional Commission's Bike/Ped Plan.

Want to see this in your neighborhood? Become engaged in your local government and make it happen.

I'm lovin' it!

Click here for the story.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Dunwoody Complete Streets Policy

Hi Friends,

There's good news here in my town of Dunwoody! August 22, 2011, the council is expected to pass a Complete Streets policy.

First off, it's been awhile since I've posted anything. Nothing personal, but sometimes you have to focus on other things. Such as your day/paying job, home, family, R&R, etc. I'll be charging back in the next few weeks and have been working behind the scenes on a few things in the city, including helping develop a Complete Streets policy.

I serve on the Sustainability Commission for Dunwoody and also served on the Advisory Committee for city's first Comprehensive Transportation Plan which was signed off earlier this year. In the Transportation Plan, there was a recommendation to adopt a Complete Street policy. In the Sustainability Commission, we voted and recommended the policy, as well. Putting it all together with staff, Public Works, the mayor & council it's now becoming a reality.

What does this mean? Quite simply, it's the formalization of assuring that when the city works on transportation projects using publicly owned rights of way (i.e.; roads & streets), they will not be strictly focused by default on motor vehicles. It's a huge paradigm shift that's being experienced all throughout the States. Locally, throughout the year-plus of public input meetings on its future, the citizens of Dunwoody have spoken loud & clear: Better ways to walk or ride a bike to a destination. 

But guess what happened months earlier? Mr.Michael Smith, the Dunwoody Public Works Director applied the principles of Complete Streets and Routine Accommodation in the 2011 Capital Paving project. He made about 3 miles of Bike Lanes appear out of thin air. How? Except for about a 400-ft stretch of road, he simply is instructing that after the roads are resurfaced, to paint the vehicle travel lane widths to10-ft. 
The 400-ft segment had a grass shoulder and was in the publicly-owned Right of Way.
Out of the annual $2M paving budget, it only cost $40k to widen the road width a few feet and voila, a contiguous mile-long segment of bike lanes on Roberts Drive, passing Austin Elementary school supporting their Safe Routes to School program, the Dunwoody Nature Center, several residential neighborhoods, a couple of churches and stopping at the border of Sandy Springs (I hope our sister city will be able to pick up this momentum and continue the bike lane).

If you come across a naysayer saying something like, "Bikes don't belong on the road because they don't pay for them", please let them know things like:
1. Revenues from motor vehicle fuel taxes and other fees only account for just over 50% of the cost of building and maintaining roads and bridges.
2. It has been the government's role at all levels for the past several decades to heavily subsidize and reallocate wealth to support motor vehicle transportation. 
3. In every state in the nation, including Georgia, bicycles are legally protected and are able to use the publicly owned right of way on our roads -- which we all own together. 
4. Until roads are privatized, with drivers paying tolls and other direct forms of payment to use such, bicycles will be able to use them. 
5. Nearly 25% of trips are less than 2 miles; bicycles use no gas or cause pollution
6. Georgia's obesity rate has doubled in the last 15 years; and it's a great way to get a bit of healthy and family-friendly exercise. 

Also, as we know that "Rome wasn't built in a day", it takes long-term planning to add bike lanes and other accommodation. Heck, when I was a kid, it used to be safe to ride my bike to school. Across the nation, you're finding parents and elected officials coming together to add bike lanes and paths so their children can choose to walk or ride their bike to school. That makes one less car on the road in the morning if the parent normally drives their child to school. 

Let's work together to insure that this policy does not collect dust.  With turnover of elected officials and staff, and with future Design & Engineering of transportation projects, please do your part to offer citizen input, feedback and a bit of "oversight", to keep the Complete Streets DNA alive in Dunwoody.

...And please thank the Mayor, Council and Staff for making this a reality!!


Monday, May 9, 2011

Children's Bike Rodeo at Brook Run Park

A couple years ago when I became involved in bicycling advocacy, I didn't just want to be a nagging voice. I  became engaged with the community, elected officials and the process. Last month I organized a Family-friendly Bicycle Ride Around Dunwoody, with 3 separate rides and distances for ALL levels (Trikes, beginners, moderate and roadies.). This month, I've coordinated a Children's Bike Rodeo at Brook Run Park. Here's the details:

This event is free and open to the public. Bring the kids for some great fun and learning about safe riding! Kids need to bring their own bikes and helmets. We will have a limited number of helmets for children in need of them. There will be a raffle of door prizes, too!

The rodeo will consist of several stations:

▲Helmet fitting station
▲Bike inspection station
▲Obstacles, (safe riding lessons)
▲Bike Security
▲”Graduation” Bike Ride in the Park with Dunwoody Police and Much More!

What:         Children’s Bike Rodeo
When:        Sat May 14, 9am-12pm
Where:       Brook Run Park, at the former administrative buildings
 Immediate left from North Peachtree entrance. 
 Park your vehicle on right, near the  skate Park – or ride your bikes!
Why:         Teach your kids to ride safely and have fun doing it!
Participants should bring their bikes and an adult for registration

Click here for City Calendar
Click here for Facebook Event


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dunwoody - Routine Accommodation in Action!

Could we take a picture like this in Dunwoody later this year??

Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk! That's what's happening in Dunwoody. I've been bitten too many times and might even have some ancestry from Missouri with the "Show Me" syndrome. But much to my VERY PLEASANT surprise on April 11th, the Dunwoody Public Works Director, Michael Smith is proposing to add Bike Lanes to resurfacing projects THIS YEAR. Yes, you read that right. Now. This year. In 2011. Not in some "Proposed / Planned / Programmed" never-never land.

The best segment in my humble opinion is on Roberts Drive, which begins very close to the Dunwoody Village area, past the Dunwoody Nature Center to Austin Elementary School. Talk about supporting Safe Routes to School and neighborhood connectivity!

Going in the "Above & Beyond" category was the addition of getting bike lanes on North Shallowford, North Peachtree and Peachford. Simply through restriping lane widths to 10 feet. 

Click here for the details.

What a great surprise.... I'm geeked to say the least.

Thank you, Mr. Smith!!


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sick to my Stomach - A Great Trail opening in some OTHER Community

No, the photo you see is not an artist's rendering. In fact, it was created four years ago in a suburb in the United States.

Yesterday I was forwarded the below reference to a suburb in Seattle, Washington that in 2007 opened a Multi-Use Trail running directly in-between two high-power tension  lines. This is EXACTLY what could have been on the table in my community of Dunwoody. But was taken off the plans after local citizens all got together with the NIMBY syndrome and came up with all sorts of emotional angst against the wonderful project.

Bottom line: It makes me sick to my stomach to read great stories like these in other communities and sense that it’s not a possibility here. Why provide kids a safe route to walk or bike to school? What's so different in the very fabric of our human beings between Seattle and Dunwoody? Why did this get so out of hand and near hysteria set in?

Here's the lovely story. Only read it if you are planning something happy immediately following, so you can forget it: Seattle Powerline Trail


Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dunwoody Village Parkway - Out of the Box Ideas

Just over two years ago I submitted to various Dunwoody city officials my informal "out of the box" thoughts on what to do with Dunwoody Village Parkway. Not being a trained traffic engineer, I was only limited by my first-hand experiences from living in Europe, what I could find on the web and just plain old-fashioned brainstorming. My first idea was a "Cheap & Cheerful" solution which would have cost:

Paint for re-striping
Four Chicanes: 8 Cement Raised Beds (4 on each side), Soil, Trees & Shrubs
Paint for re-marking a Bike/Ped Shared Use Path
Various Street Signs
This solution could have been a temporary fix requiring NO heavy construction until a long-term solution was studied, engineered, budgeted and constructed.

We're two years past then, and today Dunwoody is holding it's first public open house specifically for the parkway.

A highlight of some of my ideas I'll be bringing to the meeting tonight:

  • Remove several curbcuts
  • Add a couple of Roundabouts (Traffic Calming)
  • Insure there are buffers between motor vehicles, parked cars, bicycles and pedestrians

Here's what my daily commute used to look like when I lived in Copenhagen

To review my ideas with additional photos and examples, please take a look at this presentation here.

If you want to provide your suggestions, please contact the Dunwoody Director of Public Works Michael Smith at or 678-382- 6701

Here's a couple of photos from Boulder, Colorado: Note the simple use of planters to separate bicyclists from the motorized traffic.