Sunday, October 27, 2013

Bike Parking in Dunwoody

Effective October 21, 2013 Dunwoody has stripped out requirements to require bike parking anywhere in our city.


Our 5-year old city just completed a 22-month long major re-write of our Zoning Ordinances. It was led by consultants, had an appointed citizen review committee and several public meetings. At the onset of the Re-Write Project in early 2012, I provided the consultants, Community Development Director and other key individuals and staff examples of Best Practices for Bicycle Parking. Why re-invent the wheel? 


Nationally, there is a group of professionals called, The Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals. The APBP has produced an 83-page detailed document entitled, "Bicycle Parking Guidelines". I provided our planners this document as well. Regionally, several other municipalities spell out requirements in their zoning to provide Bike Parking. Examples include Athens-Clarke County, Decatur, Roswell, John's Creek, Savannah and Norcross -- to name a few. In Suwanee – receiving points towards Atlanta Regional Commission Green Communities Certification – their Ordinance spells out a requirement to have Bike Parking “at or near all City of Suwanee parks and community facilities.”

City of Roswell Bike Rack

I started having conversations with city staff in 2009 about bike parking. When word was out that there would be a Zoning Re-Write, they said, "wait until this process, then we'll get it covered then". One official told me, "Don't worry, I've got your back [and will get this covered]. So I patiently waited. 


During the re-write process, the Citizen Sounding Board eliminated the initial recommendation to include Bike Parking and replaced it with a voluntary incentive (I'll discuss this later). Does this sound like a community that has a desire to become Bike Friendly? 


Take a look at some of the comments from at least nine individuals that espouse incorporating accommodations for Bike Parking on the Zoning Re-Write comments website. (Note: I didn't post anything there). Aside from the Citizen Sounding Board, I didn't see anyone chirp up against it from the community. However, when I mentioned this subject earlier this year during a couple of Public meetings there were some snickers and "under the breath" laughs by a few senior -- and very well-known -- members of our community. 


Not sure if any of you know, but prior to the Zoning Code Re-Write, the only area in Dunwoody that had any guidance or requirement for Bike Parking was in the Dunwoody Village Overlay area. How did that requirement get into the Village Overlay? I’m not sure. But no doubt someone found some model ordinances from other municipalities in the United States, and incorporated it. John's Creek & Roswell's Overlay Districts provide for this, too.


Would it have been appropriate to snicker when discussing the requirements on businesses in the Dunwoody Village Overlay District that include items such as "Doors shall be compatible with pre-1900 Mid Atlantic American Colonial Architecture style", or dictating the size of exterior bricks, roof overhangs, "rectilinear" building walls, the type of windows, exterior trim that exhibits "wood-like properties" and so on? 


Would a requirement to REQUIRE bicycle parking been too much of a financial burden on our businesses? Look at the new Chick-fil-a on Jett Ferry. I've been told that they purchased the land for around $700,000 alone. Then they completely built a new structure, landscaping, etc. So we're most likely talking about well over a million dollars to have this new fast food restaurant. But nada on bike parking which would have cost less than $200 bucks. Why? I can't specifically answer that. But it's not specified in our ordinances. 


In our code - and throughout the United States, we DO dictate requirements upon businesses to provide accommodations for motor vehicle parking. So what's the big deal when we ask them -- with guidance & where it makes sense -- to provide for Bike Parking?


So how does the new code work today? It provides a voluntary formula that a property owner can use. It basically says that they can reduce motor vehicle parking requirements by adding bike parking. Let's take the example of the new Gyros restaurant in Georgetown Shopping center. Do they OWN any of the property? No. Do they have control over the motor vehicle parking in the big shared parking lot? No. So they couldn't take "advantage" of this incentive. In fact, there is practically no retail establishment in Dunwoody that they directly own the property. 


I've found out the hard way that even if a retail establishment wants to install a bike rack, they have to ask their property management company. oftentimes, this is owned & managed by a large, out-of-state Real Estate Investment Trust. And getting permission to put a bike rack can be like finding an available plow truck after a major snow storm in Atlanta to clear your driveway. I've been working with a restaurant that's been opened in the Dunwoody Village for over a year now to have a bike rack installed. It still hasn't happened. Their General Manager has sincerely told me they've repeatedly contacted the Property Management Company and is waiting on approval. For over a year.... Still waiting...


So why did I take the time to write this today? Because I woke up this morning to find in my Facebook Feed about, "Four things you can do Right Now to Make Your City More Bike-Friendly". And it goes on to say:

The most revolutionary way to advance the bike movement is also one of the simplest ---


BIKE PARKING

“Providing bicycle parking is one of those magically simple actions that have a disproportionately huge impact. On a micro scale, any small business owner can, for a couple hundred bucks or less, provide a reasonably secure, dry spot for people to park their bikes. For cities and developers looking to accommodate the largest number of personal vehicles for the lowest price, bike parking is a godsend with a massive return on investment.”


In closing, if you want Dunwoody to join Georgia cities such as Roswell, Tybee Island, Decatur, Athens and Savannah and become a Bicycle Friendly Community, I implore you to ask our City Council, City Manager and other leaders to recognize this simple measure and add Bike Parking -- just like we have for automobiles -- into our Zoning.


Contacts:


City Council: 
- councilmembers@dunwoodyga.gov

City Manager: Warren Hutmacher: 
- warren.hutmacher@dunwoodyga.gov

Community Development 
- Deputy Director: Kevin McOmber   Kevin.McOmber@DunwoodyGA.gov

Director of Sustainability: Rebecca Keefer rebecca.keefer@dunwoodyga.gov




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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Children's Bike Rodeo - 10/12



The City of Dunwoody Parks & Recreation is proud to present a Children’s Bike Rodeo at Brook Run Park the morning of Saturday October 12th. 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 12, 9am-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!



Contact:

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

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Rebuttal - Letter to the Editor - Marietta Daily Journal

Hi Friends,

In response to recent Editorials / Columns, this afternoon I submitted the following Letter to the Editor of the Marietta Daily Journal:

To The Editor,

How do you look up phone numbers today? Do you still walk over to your shelf, pick up the phone book and search for a business? How do you get your “news”? By only watching a single TV channel? Talk to just about anyone under the age of 40 (– or even 50) and they’ll tell you they use the Internet. What’s more, talk to anyone under the age of 30, and they’ll tell you they rarely use email, don’t own a laptop and use mobile applications. And Facebook is being replaced by Instagram and Reddit. Technology changes, times change and people change. Today’s Millennial generation are looking to live and work in communities that incorporate walking, bicycling and open spaces -- designed more for humans rather than strictly for moving motor vehicles as fast as they can -- to come together as a community.

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 less than 1% of the total Federal transportation funding. In the Cobb 2010 penny sales tax SPLOST, $278M was budgeted for road projects. Zero was budgeted for on-street bicycling facilities. The death or injury of a person walking or riding a bicycle affects us all, especially one that could be prevented through better engineering and design by accommodating all users of the road network. And unfortunately we’ve had several high-profile deaths of bicyclists in Cobb County this year.

Nearly 25% of trips within the US are less than 2 miles; walking and bicycling use no gas or cause pollution. American's obesity rate has doubled in the last 15 years; and walking or riding a bike is a great way to get a bit of healthy and family-friendly exercise.

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. 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.

In 2009, Cobb County Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt a Complete Streets Policy. It states, “Cobb County will implement the Complete Streets concept by considering safe access for all users to include motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians and transit users including individuals with physical disabilities and senior citizens in the planning design construction and operation of streets within its jurisdiction.”  

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. 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. 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.  Most bicyclists I know are white collar professionals, paying property, income and sales taxes. AND they drive cars & pay fuel taxes, too.

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.

Adding bicycling & walking accommodations are good for business and homeowners. The Northwest Georgia Regional Commission has just completed an Economic Impact Study of the Silver Comet Trail. It finds property values of homes are increased by seven percent within a ½ mile of the trail. For every $1 spent on the Silver Comet Trail expansion, Georgians gain an estimated $4.64 in direct and indirect economic benefits. This translates to an over 400% return on investment for local communities, the region and the state. Quality of life decisions, including the availability of recreational amenities like trails, are becoming ever more important factors in where people -- especially the Millennial generation -- choose to live and businesses choose to relocate.

Take a look at the Lower Roswell Road project between Johnson Ferry and Timber Ridge. The local neighborhoods and families mobilized and drew support to have bike lanes and the multi-purpose trail built. When completed, parents and children will be able to enjoy a nice stroll or bike ride together. Safely. When they go to sell their homes, they can proudly state they are next to the trail as an amenity for prospective homebuyers.

In the realm of transportation dollars, funding for walking and bicycling projects is “budget dust”, with a substantial ROI and myriad benefits. As having owned my own business, I know you have to anticipate changing market conditions and evolve. Times change, people change. Let’s not be stuck with a 1980’s planning and transportation mindset. instead, let’s design our communities for human-use.

Sincerely,

Joe Seconder
Retired Major, US Army Reserve

Founder, Bike Cobb & Board Member, Georgia Bikes


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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Yes, I'm a Treehugger


Today in Dunwoody, unless you are "substantially" doing a re-build on a house, or are developing / building new property, or are in the defined stream buffer, you can clear-cut your entire yard of trees. Would you like your neighbors to do that?

I'd like to see the City of Dunwoody enhance protection of ALL of our trees within the city limits. On Publicly -Owned property, the city has a "No Net Loss of Trees" policy. Meaning, they will replace & replant trees that are removed due to projects or other activities. 

As Milton Friedman would say, there's Neighbor Effects that impact us ALL when people clear-cut or indiscriminately remove trees. And those Neighbor Effects need to be "made whole" to the rest of us. Besides, we as a society can do better than that as we are being educated in really what living in a "Sustainable" fashion means. We've learned the hard way from the Europeans that came across to America and clear cut the land, thinking our natural resources had an infinite supply and who could care less about the impact of their activities on our ecosystem. And people seek to move to communities that demonstrate and value protections of our natural resources, clean water, and fresh air.

Like water, trees are an asset for us all. They increase property values, provide shade & refuge and cool the temperatures around it. A healthy tree stores about 13 pounds of carbon annually, helping to cleaning the air -- that we ALL breathe.

Let me know when US Congressman Tom Price's hometown of Roswell starts allowing what we can do here in Dunwoody. Let me know when his wife, Betty, who sits on the Roswell City Council submits a Text Amendment to allow clear-cutting of trees in Roswell. Then, we can have a conversation. 

Roswell is a conservative, established city and they DO protect ALL of their (specimen) trees within the city limits. Not just on city-owned property as we do here in Dunwoody. 

The Roswell Zoning Ordinance regulates the removal, transplantation and trimming of trees that may be impacted during land development and construction. It provides standards for tree preservation and mandates replacement of trees that may be removed during the development process. It also protects specimen trees – trees that qualify for special consideration due to their size, species or condition. 

 
The first law protecting trees in Roswell dates back to 1878 when the Mayor and Council passed an ordinance that would fine anyone $10.00 who “cut, injured, or destroyed any shade tree on any street, sidewalk or public square.” 

Per Roswell:
*****************************
A Specimen Tree is any tree, in fair or better condition, which qualifies for special consideration for preservation due to 
size, species, or condition, and which meets the following DBH (diameter at breast height):
 24” DBH – Large hardwoods (oak, hickory, yellow poplar, sweet gum, magnolia, large holly, etc.)
 30” DBH – Large softwoods (pine, deodar cedar)
 04” DBH – Small trees (dogwood, redbud, sourwood, etc.)

******************************
And if you want to start talking about PROPERTY RIGHTS, then let me know when we'll start donating our land back to the Cherokee. 

For more about the protections of trees that are offered in Roswell, check out the link below.


https://www.roswellgov.com/index.aspx?NID=1001

************************************

If you want the CIty of Dunwoody to protect our trees (and streams, too -- why not..), please send an email to our Mayor & Council at : councilmembers@dunwoodyga.gov 

& copy Steve Dush, Community Development Director at Steve.Dush@dunwoodyga.gov
& Warren Hutmacher,  City Manager at warren.hutmacher@dunwoodyga.gov





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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Dunwoody Cycling Club T-Shirts

The wait is over. Show your pride in being a part of Metro Atlanta's best cycling club, Dunwoody Cycling with our cool t-shirt. 

For a whopping FIVE $5 bucks...!!





Shirts are soft & stretchy and made from high-quality Gildan 50% Cotton / 50% DryBlend Polyester moisture wicking fabric with a pre-shrunk jersey fit. 
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Here's a close-up of the artwork:



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Ordering & Pickup
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Send an email to BikeWalkDunwoody@gmail.com and we'll get one to you

Size Chart


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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Clear & Open Pedestrian Access to Shops?

Does your local shop facilitate & encourage pedestrian traffic? Do they provide unobstructed access for disabled accommodations to their store?


Have you spoken to the owner, manager or contacted the corporate offices with this concern? Just some food for thought.
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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Mt. Vernon / Ashford-Dunwoody Intersection - Bicycle Safety



About four years ago, the PCIDs redesigned the intersection of Mount Vernon & Ashford-Dunwoody. Headed northbound on Ashford-Dunwoody to eastbound Mt. Vernon is a new "merge" lane. It's been designed to slow down cars when they turn onto Mt. Vernon. The merge has a sharper angle, and they added a long cement barrier which extends out like a point

In Dunwoody's Master Transportation Plan, the entire length of Mount Vernon is planned to have bike lanes. These will be built as the city resurfaces each segment. In 2012, the city installed bike lanes on Mt. Vernon west from this intersection to the Sandy Springs city border. East of the intersection there presently are NO bike lanes or painted bicycle facilities.

Riding eastbound (bottom to top as pictured above), it's very dangerous for a bicyclist to merge past this intersection, to get onto the right-lane past the cement lane divider.

On April 23, 2011 I submitted a See Click Fix ticket for this issue and it was not addressed.  It is Archived with a status of closed on 5/24/2011 with the comments:

“Thanks. We'll get it taken care of.” http://www.seeclickfix.com/issues/96819

I’ve just opened up a new ticket & referenced the one from 2011. Please go here & vote to have it fixed:
http://www.seeclickfix.com/issues/555792

I'm adding some very inexpensive suggestions to improve safety for this intersection. If you have others, please post in the comments & I'll forward them on to our city's Public Works Department.

Here's a rough sketch of some ideas:

Copyright: 1st grade Art Class Doodler, Inc.



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Monday, May 13, 2013

Perimeter / Dunwoody Bike to Lunch with Mayor Davis


In celebration of Bike Month, the City of Dunwoody Sustainability Commission is hosting a Bike/Walk to Lunch Day on Friday, May 17th. Bring your bike (or your walking shoes) to the City Hall parking lot at 10:30 and ride with city officials to lunch at Tin Lizzy’s. Enjoy the fresh air and friendly atmosphere while promoting pollution-free transportation. The one mile ride will take place entirely within dedicated bike lanes and end with delicious food and great conversation. Tin Lizzy’s will provide free chips and salsa and a 10% discount for all participants.


WHEN
Friday, May 17 at 10:30 a.m.

WHERE
City Hall—41 Perimeter Center East

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Contact City of Dunwoody at 678-382-6811


















Kindly RSVP at one of the below websites.


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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Can We Talk??? Dunwoody's Parks


Inner city getto, or showcase amenity in an affluent community?


In November, 2011 the Dunwoody's Parks Bond Referendum was defeated. Afterward, I posted the following thoughts to my Facebook account. I'm posting this here in hopes that our elected officials and the leadership of the city staff will decide that it's time to allow the citizens to have a seat at the table and have a conversation. We're a SMART City. So let's leverage that brainpower and take action.




If you have about 40 minutes, check out the above video for a detailed presentation introduced by former State Senator, Dan Weber. 

Yes, we're getting some new parkspace in the Georgetown area in Project Renaissance, and that's wonderful. But what about saying "where do we go from here"? What about Windward Hollow, Perimeter Park and the others? Yes, we don't even have a single public basketball court for our kids to play on. A couple of sand volleyball courts would be too easy to construct. 


Recently, a friend had a photo taken of her on Facebook (See top photo). She was sitting on the steps in front of a brick building. The windows were boarded up. There was graffiti on the walls and the exterior of the building was rusted and in disrepair. I HONESTLY thought she was in some run-down desolate inner-city area. But looking at the description, she was in Brook Run park! Would you see someone taking a photo in front of these abandoned, eyesore buildings & sending them to our local publication for a "Where in the World" are you photo op? 

Would a Realtor take a prospective homebuyer into our parks & show them off as they exist today? 

Yes, we do have some nice features to display -- IF you squint & keep a narrow field of vision. 

Facts:

  • The median household income of Dunwoody is over $74,000. Nearly DOUBLE the state's average. 


  • I pay more for garbage pickup than I do in City property taxes. 

I'm willing to fork over another $40-50 per year to INVEST in our parks, to make all of them a source of PRIDE for our community, and for prospective residents & businesses to see these & say, "yes, this is an even better place to live". 

What was that mantra for our incorporation again? -- Oh yeah: Parks, Police & Paving. Let's start the conversation. 

Here's what I said in November, 2011:


#1: Start the community conversation with Public Open Houses. Go over the Parks Master Plans. For each park, come up with two lists: a) a overall Top Ten of the 10 BEST projects / things that each park could have regardless of cost or scope. b) Then make a second top 10 list list -- but this time it would be focused on the lowest cost items, things that could be done through volunteers, donations in-kind, public-private partnerships, rather quickly, etc.

#2: Establish a legitimate 501c(3) non-profit "Friends of Dunwoody Parks" whatever. Use this non-profit to be able to seek out private donations, grants, etc. Donations in kind or cash, etc. for park amenities through this non-profit would then be a tax deduction for donors. Get some type of formal city-recognized partnership & understanding with this non-profit so that when they (for example) install a new swingset in a park, it won't be ripped out in a year because it wasn't in the city plan.

#3: Head on over to some of the big Fortune 500 companies in the PCID (ask Yvonne to introduce) and pitch the plan and see what they say. For more active recreation uses, if accessible for their employees, these corporations would have a buy-in (Healthier employees are less expensive).

#4: Educate the public about our millage rate, revenue, budget, & expenses by department / major activity. The more they understand how LOW our millage rate is, and what we are able to to -- and NOT do, the better we can create priorities and come to a consensus.

#5: IF talk ever came about for another bond, FIRST have lots of public meetings, formally establish a citizen's review & oversight board for full accountability and transparency, come up with a definitive project list THEN write the proposal for the referendum and the bond. --- Just my 2 cents....



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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Another Problem with Drive-Thrus

Car making a 3-point turn to access the drive-thru from the interior of the Williamsburg Shopping Center

First off, I want everyone to know that I LOVE Chick-fil-a and will be frequenting here frequently.

Now please take a look at the short video below I took this afternoon of the Grand Opening of the new Chick-fil-a on Jett Ferry in Dunwoody. It clearly demonstrates to you the problems that are faced by small independently-owned slivers of land within the interior of existing shopping areas without coordinating with the adjacent land owners. You’ll see how there’s issues with the circulation of cars coming in from the interior of  the rest of the Williamsburg shopping center property, which is owned by others. 

Most people would think that an entire shopping center is owned by a single company -- or at least managed by a single group. But that isn't the case. It's also true at Dunwoody Village, with a gazillion independent owners. But -- and I'll go out on a limb here -- I bet that when the entire area was FIRST developed, it WAS owned by a single developer. And then subdivided and sold off into pieces...

Did you know that the little self-standing ATM drive-thru adjacent to this is independently owned? Also the piece of land when Nell's Produce is, is ALSO yet ANOTHER property owner??? Crazy, eh??? 



Couldn’t we have asked Chick-fil-a to coordinate with the adjacent property owners and develop a holistic plan to accommodate traffic from the interior?

Imagine the problems at the "to-be-redeveloped" Sterling Pointe on Ashford-Dunwoody after they subdivide & split all of the separately-owned retail parcels, as well.

There’s also no safe pedestrian access off of Jett Ferry, even though their parcel goes right up to the road.

And no rack to secure and lock a bicycle. (Also been waiting on Marlows to install theirs since they opened – per the Village Overlay District Ordinance, and I’ve asked at Farm Burger, Workout Anytime, etc…).

And, to add insult to injury, they don't have my beloved Coleslaw on the menu!!

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Will the Dunwoody City Government Actively Encourage Bicycling???

You ever think that officially the City of Dunwoody will ever do anything to promote bicycling as a healthy lifestyle? Installing bike lanes as the norm– just like sidewalks – will help, but simple events, PR notices, etc. like the below link from Decatur make a difference. Decatur’s General Fund Budget, including Fire is $20M. Dunwoody's 2012 General Fund is $20M -- WITHOUT Fire. With the same money, Decatur has an Active Living Department. Why don’t we???

A small example is that in 2011 I helped to put on two Bike Safety Rodeos for kids. It really wasn't very difficult at all. Had the support of Brent Walker at Parks & Rec Department, The Police & Explorers, Women’s Club & even a woman from the DeKalb County Public Health (Safe Kids). I didn't try to do one in 2012… and it didn't happen.

We can’t rely on volunteers for everything all the time. What if volunteers start travelling more for their day job? What if all of a sudden their work requirements substantially increase? What if they move away from Dunwoody? We simply cannot rely on volunteers to act as free labor and run all of this stuff  into the foreseeable future  

Could we get a City staff person assigned to work a few hours hours per week (or month) as a Bike-Ped Coordinator?  Should we just toss out the 2009 Resolution on Becoming a Bike Friendly Community

We can’t just think some free volunteers are going to show up out of the blue & solve everything for us.

I want to be able to work hard, full time 40-60 hours per week at my paying day job, including business travel and to come home and enjoy deserved amenities of the community where I live.

I want to see something systemic, programmatic and budgeted from the City of Dunwoody to support and encourage bicycling, like they're doing Decatur with the same amount of funds:


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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Why I do what I do

Photo by Cameron Adams
A picture speaks a thousand words. This is an example of what is possible here in Dunwoody. This is why I do what I do. 'Nuff said...

From Momentum Magazine article on Savannah: http://momentummag.com/articles/savannah/


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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Complete Streets Continues in Dunwoody: Womack Road



Since adopting the Complete Streets Policy in 2011, the City of Dunwoody has been very effective into taking account all users of our streets during Public Works projects. We've seen Road Diets on Perimeter Center East (4 lanes reduced to 2, with added Bike Lanes, just for the cost of paint & some signs); Bike lanes appearing magically on North Shallowford with no additional engineering other than re-striping after re-paving; the addition of Bike Lanes and a lovely meandering sidewalks among the trees on a half-mile segment Mt. Vernon (that segment did require widening of the road). And also one of the VERY FIRST projects to add bike lanes was about a mile-long segment on Roberts Drive. The vast majority was from simply re-striping to a 10-ft lane width. Some small segments did require road widening, as well.  Since being installed in 2011, it’s so popular with the kids at Austin Elementary that they had to acquire another large capacity bike rack for the kids. Click here for a link to my 2011 story.

It will indeed be a great day in Dunwoody when all of our K-12 schools have safe infrastructure in place to accommodate both walking and bicycling for our children. On our city's sidewalk plan, there is a prioritization that places emphasis on school connectivity. It's very well-thought out and analytical in nature, removing political influence.


At the present, a sidewalk segment of about 380 feet is being constructed on Womack Drive Westbound, between Oakhurst Walk and Lakeland Woods Court. 


Building this segment will close one of the last gaps directly across from Dunwoody Elementary School, offering neighboring children another safe option to walk to school.


I'll defer the discussion of proper school siting and these MEGA-Schools to the experts such as at DeKalb School Watch, Concerned Parents of Dunwoody, and over at Dunwoody Talk. But needless to say, these larger schools do not lend themselves to accommodating safe non-motorized access for children to travel from the adjacent neighborhoods. Especially given the combination of greater distances and the plethora of "dead-end cul-de-sacs" that the developers of the 1980's & 1990's were allowed to build.




So back to this little segment on Womack. Applying the Complete Streets Policy means taking into account & consideration of all users of our Public Rights of Way. So instead of building the sidewalks along the existing curb & gutter, the city is widening the road over that 380 foot segment, shifting over the curb & gutter and THEN they're going to install the sidewalk. The city did the same thing along a 1/2 mile segment of Mount Vernon in 2012. Why did they do this? To provide for future accommodation for a bike lane. Just like on Roberts Drive. 

When the rest of Womack is resurfaced, and/or there's new development taking place (see Berman Commons), they'll be able to add bike lanes. Much of it can be accommodated through re-striping to a 10-ft travel lane width.

What does this accomplish for Womack Road, it's neighbors and it's users?

#1: Traffic Calming. Decreasing lane widths to 10-ft is proven to slow traffic. More bicyclists out on the road will also calm traffic.
#2: Gets the "interested but concerned" folks out there for a bike ride. I'm talking about the opposite of the Lance Armstrong wannabes that ride with the Dunwoody Cycling club every Saturday morning at 7:30 am DHS, or from Mellow Mushroom on Tuesday nights at 6:30 pm, etc. Maybe these casual users will consider heading out & venturing around beyond their immediate neighborhoods. The more people out on bikes, the safer it is for all. Car drivers (just about all of us) become accustomed to seeing people on bikes. That raises their awareness.
#3: Continues to build out the network to CONNECT to places. Georgia Perimeter College is on this road. Headed in the opposite direction is Dunwoody Village. Take some back roads & end up at Brook Run Park. The list goes on.
#4: Increases Property Values. Millennials want walkability & bikeability. They want to go places without needing to get in a car.
#5: Makes for a Healthier Community: Retirees move to places like Carey, NC for their amenities including multi-use trails, bike networks and pedestrian access. For several years it's been listed as Money Magazine's one of the best places to live. ... AND, they have received national recognition as a Bicycle Friendly Community since 2003.

In my heart at the end of the day, it's really not about bicycling. Rather, it's about a sense of community and sharing with the freedom that occurs once we step outside of those metal-framed glass enclosed boxes on wheels. It comes from encountering people in the sunshine face-to-face, smiling, waving and simply saying hello.
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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

No New Curb Cut for Ashford-Dunwoody Hotel


Dear Members of the Dunwoody Community Council, Planning Commission, ZBA, and City Council:

I strongly oppose a new curb cut on Ashford Dunwoody in regards to the request of HDP Acquisitions on the proposed Rezoning and SpecialLand Use Permit to construct a six story hotel, coffee shop, several retail shops and restaurant on Ashford Dunwoody Rd at Perimeter Center North on the Sterling Point office complex.

The DHA negotiated with the previous developer not to have a curb cut and position the hotel with a pedestrian entrance off of Ashford-Dunwoody. The current zoning is conditioned per a site plan which does not include a curb cut.  Adding a curb cut to Ashford-Dunwoody will create additional motor vehicle traffic backups and congestion.

The proposed curb cut is between two existing traffic lights that are a mere .16 miles – or 840 feet apart. That’s a very comfortable walking distance. Adding an additional curb cut will make the street less safe for both motor vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists. Most motor vehicle collisions with bicycles occur at intersections. Pedestrians will have another danger point in needing to cross an additional intersection.

From the approximate property center location on Ashford Dunwoody, it’s less than a QUARTER MILE to go to Sage, and the other shops and restaurants (Alons, CafĂ© Intermezzo, etc.) That’s too easy to walk. Providing PEDESTRIAN access to Ashford-Dunwoody INSTEAD of a new curb cut will DECREASE motor vehicle traffic congestion. It will ease traffic congestion by offering them a CHOICE to WALK instead of DRIVE.

Walking on foot is good for the local economy and businesses. A pedestrian can window shop and might stop in a local business that they would not have noticed had they been travelling at 45 MPH.  


Just look at the myriad of curb cuts in the Dunwoody Village area. Along Chamblee-Dunwoody, Mount Vernon and the interior streets. Each intersection is another opportunity for a collision. Today, travelling north along Chamblee-Dunwoody from Mount Vernon up to Roberts Drive is pure confusion and chaos. Drivers, pedestrians and others all come & go, in & out from myriad locations. Not only is it highly unsafe, it does not lend itself to the vision in our master plans for a more walkable and bikeable community.

In closing, ask yourself if the addition of another curb cut on Ashford Dunwoody gets us closer to the vision expressed in our approved ComprehensiveLand Use Plan:

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City-wide Vision Statement


The City of Dunwoody showcases its “big city appeal with small town feel” from the moment you
cross its gateways. Through its unique, high-quality character as a safe, comfortable and
thriving place to live, work, shop and play, the City of Dunwoody preserves the past, promotes
economic vitality, protects the residential nature of its neighborhoods, presents viable options as
a place to live through all stages of life and ability, and prepares for the future through:

  • Historical designation designed to save, restore, and promote our heritage properties
  • Continued high-quality development of the Perimeter business area designed to promote the economic engine of the City while enhancing convenience to products and services for our citizens
  • Conservative, conscientious redevelopment of our other commercial nodes designed to enhance the quality of life of our residential neighborhoods
  • Development of a variety of living options designed for all stages of life and ability
  • Increased connectivity, enhanced transportation options—including bicycle and pedestrian, expanded functional greenspace and park ownership designed to improve the health, vitality and recreational enjoyment of our City’s businesses and residents and the long-term sustainability of our City

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What you can do:

1.  Send an email to the Dunwoody Community Council, Planning Commission and City Council at:

communitycouncil@dunwoodyga.gov
planningcommission@dunwoodyga.gov
CouncilMembers@dunwoodyga.gov

2. Attend & speak at the above council meetings:

Community Council - March 14th
Planning Commission -- TBD (April?)
City Council -- TBD (May??)

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References:

Rezoning: RZ 13-051
SLUP: SLUP 13-051


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