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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