Friday, August 8, 2014

Minutes from Meeting with Jay Pryor

Joe Seconder’s Meeting Notes with Jay Pryor
August 7, 2014

Caveat: I’m sure I’ve missed some points. But you should get the gist of the conversation.

ISSUE #1 – Don’t see any Cyclists on Chamblee Dunwoody / Not a good route for cyclists / Too busy for bikes / No room for cars to pass

Responses:

A - Showed him the Strava print out. 82 registered Strava users have ridden that segment 2,829 times since circa 2011.

B – Gave story of the original See & Be Seen Dunwoody Cycling route that was on this segment. After a couple of weeks, riders had it changed, because it’s not bike friendly (no shoulders, narrow lanes, busy, etc.). Said organized group rides all try to minimize our time on any busy roads, so we’re not that readily visible.

C – Said we make up our own Recreational routes to avoid traffic and for exercise. A completely different purpose from getting from point A to B in a utilitarian fashion to go shopping, as a commuter, etc.

D – Told him that GDOT put bike lanes last year on Ponce de Leon in Atlanta, with around 33,000 cars per day.  – Jay asked if there were bicycles on it, I said yes. I should have shown him a video of that, too.



This video was taken during evening rush hour on Monday, August 4th -- just a few days ago.

E – Played him my video of me riding on Chamblee-Dunwoody & how “uncomfortable” / “dangerous” it is. Said of course people like my wife would never choose to ride on this road in its current condition.




F – Played him the Roswell Police Department’s You Tube Public Education Video on “Sharing the Road – Georgia’s 3-feet Passing Law”.



The video clearly shows cars crossing the yellow center line & Roswell PD in the comments section clearly states it’s permissible to do such. I gave examples of a Post truck. Delivery Truck, UPS. Or in rural areas, farm tractors.

G – Described to him how nice Mt. Vernon is west of Ashford-Dunwoody with the new Bike Lanes. Before, cars were having to wait for cyclists. And we cyclists had to “squeeze” in to ride, often getting “buzzed”. Now we both have our own place, which keeps traffic moving smoothly and it’s safer.

H – Asked him to think of roads as:

Linear Strips 
of 
Publicly Owned Rights of Way 
Used for the Movement 
of 
Goods & Humans”

and that it was up to us what we did with them (-vs- strictly motor vehicles)

I  - Jay brought up Columns Drive and when he’s driving his car, he’s so “fearful” of hitting bicyclists that at times he won’t even try to pass. I replied that I do not like to ride on Columns. I said that because there’s NO SIDEWALKS, it FORCES pedestrians & runners out onto the street.

ISSUE #2 – Jay (paraphrasing) indicated that his perception is that bicycling is mostly for optional recreation / asked if there actually were people out there going from A to B, etc.

Responses:

A – Showed him the 2007 – 2017 Bike Lanes


and how it’ll be a connected network. Once it’s connected, there will be more & more people using them.

B – 40% of all trips in the US are 4 miles or less. That’s too easy to ride a bike. Discussed Jett Ferry / Williamsburg to Dunwoody Village is two miles. & Dunwoody Village to Georgetown is also only 2 miles. Not only will this open it up for weekend casual recreational riders wanting to get some basic exercise, it will allow people to ride their bikes to Starbucks, meet friends for lunch, short errands, etc.

C – Showed him the infographic of the space for 60 people in cars _vs_ bikes.


As an example, I discussed the vast numbers of parents driving their kids to school. Said if we could have SAFE Routes to School (mentioned Decatur), then a few percentage of those parents just might let their kids walk or ride their bike to school, REDUCING motor vehicle congestion in the morning.

D – Roberts Drive Bike Lanes (2011)-- Said once the bike lanes were installed, Austin Elementary had to get a THIRD bike rack, with all of the kids riding their bikes to school.



Told the city WIDENED a couple hundred feet on Roberts (for about $50k) on a particular segment to get the extra width to have the Bike Lanes. Said it was 100% within the Public Right of Way. Said that this year (2014) just now the Council has approved installing sidewalks on the west side of Roberts along the same segment, making it a “Complete Street”.

E – Spoke about legitimate commuters going to MARTA, etc.

F – Mentioned the Perimeter Community Improvement District’s Trail Plan



They are building out a network within the business district of trails to connect the office buildings to the two MARTA stations, shops, restaurants and offices.

ISSUE #3 – City has to use Eminent Domain to acquire land to build the Bike Lanes on Chamblee-Dunwoody

Response: I said I hadn’t heard that at all. Jay said he got this information from our Public Works Director, Michael Smith

[Note: I followed up with Michael & he said the project boundaries did NOT require any land acquisition. Rather, Construction Easements are being sought with adjacent property owners.]

ISSUE #4 – City will NOT install the sidewalks as part of the current “Complete Streets” project on Chamblee- Dunwoody if it’s over budget. The city will (paraphrasing) ‘First & foremost” widen the road by the required 8 feet (true) and install Bike Lanes. Then, if there’s enough budgeted money left over the city would install the sidewalks.

Response: I said I hadn’t heard that at all. Jay said he got this information from our Public Works Director, 
Michael Smith

[Note: I followed up with Michael & he said the project bid includes BOTH the road widening for Bike Lanes AND Sidewalks. Need to see what amount the returned bids come in at. ***IF*** they were over budget then the sidewalks can be installed at a later date. It’s not an “either or”. IMHO, it could be similar to Roberts Drive – Bike Lanes in 2011, Sidewalks in 2014]

Takeaways:

I just thanked Jay for his time. It was cordial, casual and very open. I didn’t ask him to change his mind. I just asked him to take a look at the information I was providing and to consider it.

I provided Jay with hard copies of the following:

Strava Printout of Bicycle Riders on Chamblee-Dunwoody

2007 – 2017 Bike Lanes. Legal sized paper, color print

5” x 7” Color Glossy of our “Family” Photo PSA with Linda, her husband & two children



The photo was taken on the under construction Dunwoody Village Parkway. (I said we had handed out over 1,000 of these in the 4th of July Parade.)

6-page color print out of 12 of the other Bike Walk Dunwoody PSA photos (2 photos per page).

Extract from the Dunwoody 2013 Community Survey showing highest demand for Trails & Bike Lanes




Extract from 2011 UGA / Georgia Bikes Survey on Citizen Input on Bicycling Issues. Physically highlighted the statement:
·         81% of respondents either strongly agreed (37.0%) or agreed (43.9%) that they would ride a bicycle more frequently if their community had better bicycle facilities such as bike lanes or multi-use paths.

[Joe point: Build it & they will come]

My Article on “Complete Streets Makes Sense for Businesses and Homeowners” published in the Georgia Municipal Association Blog

Copy of City of Dunwoody Resolution on” City of Dunwoody - Action Plan for Bicycle Friendly Community - Resolution 2009-11-63Passed unanimously & signed my Mayor Ken Wright in November, 2009.

1-page extract from page 2 of the May 2014 Budget Report showing the Pie Chart of City Expenditures. Used this just to put things in perspective of where we are spending our money. Jay said it’s a shame we don’t have active Parks & Recreation system such as in Roswell.


Provided him a hard copy of the following original & unedited 2-page “Vision” document. Told him that I used this doc in 2009 & met with each Councilmember, the Mayor and other city leaders to discuss. (I did not go over the items in the doc.)



A Bicycle and Pedestrian Friendly Vision for the City of Dunwoody
Prepared by the Dunwoody Bicycle Taskforce
June 24, 2009
www.BikeDunwoody.org (coming soon)

Overarching Principles

Transportation Planning should be thought of as a
Throughput of People, rather than exclusively motorized vehicles
Dunwoody is a “Keystone” City
Regional Connectivity
Destination for live, work and play
We are an active, engaged and healthy community

Facts & Figures

·         In the U.S. more than 25% of all auto trips are less than a mile in length1
These short trips offer a terrific opportunity to take to the streets by foot or by bike instead of by car.
·         1969 appx 50% children in the U.S got to school by walking or bicycling2
2001 only 15%2
·         As much as 20 to 30% of morning traffic is often generated by parents driving their children to schools.2
·          In the US, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 3 to 14.2
·         Business leaders say traffic is the biggest hindrance to running and expanding their companies.3
·         GA Adults: 36% overweight;  29% obese = 65%4
·         GA Youth (9th–12th grades): 18% overweight, 14% obese =  32%4

Source 1: Georgia Clean Air Campaign
Source 2: US H.CON. RES 305, 2/28/08
Source 3: Sam A. Williams, President, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Joint House/Senate Study Cmttee on Trans Funding 7/11/07
Source 4: CDC, 2007

Vision & Direction

Prepare a separate, dedicated Bicycle Master Plan for the City

·         Coordinate with adjacent jurisdictions and PCID during this process
·         Account for  both conventional street and “off-road / dirt”  bicycle use

Formally Adopt “Complete Streets” Policy

“CHICAGO’S COMPLETE STREETS POLICY
The safety and convenience of all users of the transportation system including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, freight, and motor vehicle drivers shall be accommodated and balanced in all types of transportation and development projects and through all phases of a project so that even the most vulnerable – children, elderly, and persons with disabilities – can travel safely within the public right of way.” (Alliance for Biking & Walking)

Safe Routes to School (Public & Private)

·         Walking and Bicycling to school as a safe and viable alternative

Appoint a City Staff Member as the Bike/Ped Coordinator

Adopt the Recommendations from the 2007 Atlanta Regional Commission’s Bike/Ped Plan

·         Routine Accommodation
Bicyclists and pedestrians provided for when new roadways are constructed and for new and retrofitting existing roadways
·         Complete Streets
·         Re-stripe Candidates
Develop and adopt a protocol for roadway re-striping to better accommodate bicyclists on roadway segments where excess pavement width is available.
Performed coincidentally with resurfacing projects
·         Improve Crossings (Ped & Bike)
·         End-of-Trip Bicycle Facilities
Parking/Racks/Storage, Lockers, Showers
Work / Offices, Retail, Schools, Government, etc.
·         Neighborhood Connectivity
Cul-de-Sacs / Dead Ends (open up to bike/ped)

Attain Bicycle Friendly Community Status by 2014
·         Engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation
·         Formally declare Dunwoody’s  Vision & Objectives
·         Set in place now the policies, people and plans to achieve this

Conclusions

Economic, Environmental, Social & Health Benefits  / Quality of Life

·         GA $$ spent on golfing is #2. GA $$ spent on bicycling is #1
·         Home values rise with increased bike/ped opportunities
·         Aging Population / Healthy Alternative
·         Disabled “Ability” to use the Streets, other means of transportation
·         Quality Family Recreation Time Together

Viable & Safe Alternative of Transport

Latent Demand
·         Develop the facilities and people will use them
·         Where the trip origin is near enough to the destination

Open up Opportunities to Varied Users
·         Casual, first-time
·         Commuters
·         Utility / Errands
·         Fitness
·         Social (Dinner)
·         Recreational

·         Family “Quality” Time

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Any Takers for Sandy Springs Bicycling Advocacy?

Dear Sandy Springs Friends,


See the photo of the recent widening of a segment of Glenridge Drive, just west of GA-400. They could have provided bike lanes – or at least very wide shoulders – by simply striping the lane widths… New developments come in without putting in the 4-5 foot setback and leaving room to build a bike lane or wider shoulder (Dunwoody does this & is spelled out in their ordinance). See the new townhomes going in on the west side of Glenridge just north of 285. They could have installed bike lanes in addition to sidewalks.).

Are there ANY individuals, businesses or organizations based in Sandy Springs that would want to spend a couple of hours a month in their hometown to help make Sandy Springs a safer place for people of all ages & abilities to ride a bike?

A few years ago I tried to start up an advocacy effort in Sandy Springs aka “Bike Sandy Springs”. The group exists on Facebook and the most activity I see is a weekly Sunday bike ride. As you know, I’m focused on Dunwoody, where I live. But we all ride around the different towns & counties, it’s very transparent and we’re all connected. I cannot lead efforts in Sandy Springs. But I am willing to assist in building the momentum and getting interested people together to move forward.

With focused advocacy efforts, Sandy Springs could become a safer place to ride a bike for people of all ages & abilities. Road projects & developments happen each year without providing bicycle accommodation. Do you think UPS would like to have something like a Protected Bike Lane (see below) running all along Abernathy, between the Sandy Springs MARTA station and Roswell Road? Doing so would connect and open up another option for their employees to get to work, and provide a “last mile connectivity” option without requiring a motor vehicle, reducing congestion.



Georgia Bikes provides “Seed Grants” to fledging advocacy organizations to help fund startup costs. As the current Vice President of Georgia Bikes, I could help in the application process. We can bring in the Executive Director, Brent Buice to meet and assist in getting started. Bike Alpharetta received a grant in 2011, and is now an official IRS-designated Non-Profit 501(c)3.

All it takes to get started is a half-dozen individuals dedicated to spending 2-4 hours a month. That’s it….

Many thanks,

Joe
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Monday, May 19, 2014

Bike Walk Dunwoody Website is Live

Hi All,

Taking it to the next level in Dunwoody and have setup the Bike Walk Dunwoody website. It's a partner to the Facebook page and can be used for recurring events, references and initiatives.

Enjoy!

Please go HERE
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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Open Letter to Dunwoody City Council -- Invest in Trails

I've just sent the following to our Mayor & City Council regarding their 4-3 split decision (yes) on March 24th regarding their decision to purchase the adjacent land across the creek from Brook Run Park. The land would allow for a future trail that would connect to the Georgetown and the on-going Project Renaissance parks & development. Click HERE for the detailed documents as presented & voted upon by our City Council (Large download -- 45 MB).

The three "no"s are of concern. Hindsight being 20/20, I really think that at least two of the "no"s, according to their expressed reasons, should have delayed the vote, asked for more information & then voted yes. Come local elections in 2015 and we get in another "No", then we can just forget about our plans and investing in our future. Might as well start thinking about where you want to relocate. 'cause in 2016, they'll be voting on paving the rest of Mount Vernon -- and -- will have the CHOICE to add in to the budget to install bike lanes the rest of the way (just like it is today along Mt. Vernon west of Ashford-Dunwoody). The list goes on. 

Voting Yes: Heneghan, Thompson, Nall & Davis
Voting No: Riticher, Deutsch & Shortal

Would you like to see trails continue to be built in Dunwoody? 
Send an email to councilmembers@dunwoodyga.gov 
and ask for a reply with their commitment.

AND -- please come to the City Council Meetings, sign up for Public Comments & let your voice be heard. It's just a couple of hours and it so important.



Hello All,


I have received replies or had discussions (even briefly) with the three of you who voted no on the land purchase to connect across the creek to Brook Run. And I appreciate that. However, it is the FUTURE that still concerns me. And so I am sending this note and will be “rallying the troops” around supporting continued investment in our trails, bike lanes and other amenities in our community through the coming years. And they will be asking for your commitment in voting YES on these projects. The faces of supporters can be widely seen for example on a Thursday night at Brook Run at the Food Trucks. 

Unlike one of our members of the Community Council espousing confrontation when it comes to Complete Streets & accommodating pedestrians & bicyclists, we’ll leave the pitchforks & torches at home. I promise…



I know three of you voted  -- for varying reasons – against spending 0.12% of our city budget ($30k) for the purchase of the land to connect the Brook Run Trail with Georgetown development. Yet when it comes to spending TEN percent of our budget on repaving roads ($2.5M), there’s unanimous consent. Yes, I agree there were “concerns” of spending another $30-60K in committed funds to do landscaping, signage & fencing for the apartment owner. So then the whole transaction would run us about 0.40% of our city budget ($100k).

Is our Economic Development Director, Michael Starling relaying this information to the executives at the likes of State Farm when they are considering a major relocation and investing in a 2.2 million square foot mixed-use development in Dunwoody?

Are you telling our major corporations that you don’t want to invest in trails and follow our master plans to enhance the quality of our lives and improve property values? All because of an additional 0.3 percent of our annual budget? 

Are you receiving some kind of insider information that our hired consultants don't know about trails, best practices and wetlands protections? If so, can you please share with us your findings and cite your sources & references?

I’m not shy and don’t mind spreading the word to the corporate world this information – regardless of the fact that PCID is self-taxing themselves to BUILD their own internal trail system. You think that State Farm & friends would like to have neighboring non-motorized connectivity over to affordable housing in the Georgetown area? And that the Millennials truly prefer having a CHOICE to ride a bike a few of miles to work instead of sitting in stop & go traffic? Or even retirees when seeking a place to settle? Or someone being told by their doctor they need to get out & exercise?

We cannot solely build additional motor vehicle capacity to accommodate the predicted growth in our area. Providing alternatives at a fraction of the cost of building out new roads is something we need to be doing. Just like the PCID is planning. 


Have you reviewed the 2013 City of Dunwoody Community Survey? Do you know what were the top two responses by our citizens to improve our parks? Trails.



In reviewing the council comments from March 24th, clearly two of the three “NOs” were due to needing more information.

***************************************************************************** 
For your actions during Council Meetings please consider the following:

#1: I recommend that during the initial DISCUSSION item, you bring up questions and ask staff to get you more information that you need to make decisions when it comes up for a vote.
#2 (a) : On the day of the vote, instead of voting NO, if you still have questions that you need answered, then MAKE A MOTION to vote on the council tasking staff to get more information.
#2 (b): If you believe that the action requires a re-write (purchase contract agreement, etc.), then again, then MAKE A MOTION to vote on it.
#2 (c): Once staff either brings you more information, or changes the contract (etc.), your questions will be answered. THEN take a vote.

Can I PLEASE get your assurance that you will ask for more information and proposed to delay the vote until you know all that you need to know before making a decision?

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

"Trails are responsible for a 4 to 7 percent increase in property value for homes within one-quarter mile."



Here's a great post on the Silver Comet Trail and its positive economic impact on adjacent towns and homes. LINK HERE


FUNDING in 2015

In setting the budget for 2015, I look forward to allocating resources to build Phase III of the trail, connecting Brook Run with Project Renaissance and for the Council to vote YES to fund its construction. 

I will be working within the community, building up strong broad-based community support for this action. We will ask for your continued support in fulfilling the vision of our citizens as expressed in our city's master plans.

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Dunwoody Cycling: Adopt a Park Bench at Brook Run Park



I'm calling out to my local cycling friends to pledge a tax-deductible contribution towards sponsoring a Park Bench to be installed at a prominent location at Brook Run Park. It will be labeled as being donated by Dunwoody Cycling.



Help generate some goodwill & give back to our community. Our parks and open spaces are part of what makes Dunwoody exceptional. The Dunwoody Women's Club is coordinating the purchase & installation of Park Benches throughout our public parks. Each bench costs $1,000.

To make the pledge, please fill out your information at the following link. I'll let the pledge period continue until Friday, May 2nd. Once we reach our goal, I'll notify you & you can make a TAX-DEDUCTIBLE check payable to "Dunwoody Women's Club" and mail it to me for processing.

Donation Pledge GO HERE

About the Dunwoody Women's Club Park Bench Project:

The Dunwoody Woman's Club is pleased to support the City of Dunwoody Parks and Recreation Department's goal to provide the residents of Dunwoody with the highest quality parks, recreational services, and green space to enhance the quality of life in our community.
People of all ages visit our parks on a daily basis for athletic sports, playground activities, events, other gatherings, and neighborhood activities. Many come to the parks to relax and get away from the stresses and pressures of everyday life. Whatever the reason for visiting our parks, your tax-deductible gift of a park bench will be recognized and appreciated by thousands who visit each year.

More info on the Park Bench project can be found at this LINK 



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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Now at www.BicyclingJoe.info

Hi followers! Please update your bookmarks to www.bicyclingjoe.info. Somebody took my domain name "BicyclingJoe.Com". (Had auto renew set to an expired card... sucks)
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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Another Letter for Save Dunwoody

I wanted to save this post for historical purposes. It was published as a Letter to the Editor in our local newspaper, The Crier on March 25th, 2014.

Recently, I received an email from one of my neighbors. She forwarded a request for me to sign a petition that was sent by “Save Dunwoody”. Before one signs on to anything, you should know about the person(s) or organization that is behind it. I sent my neighbor the following in reply and have yet to have an answer. The public still doesn't know who is running Save Dunwoody, how it is organized and who makes their decisions. Read on for my questions & thoughts to my neighbor:

 Can you tell us the names of the leaders, officers or those elected by the Save Dunwoody membership whom they represent? What defines “membership”? Where are the by-laws of Save Dunwoody defining their organization?  Who runs the website, creates petitions, sends out emails and pays for yard signs and ads in our local paper? Where are their annual financial reports? When do they schedule public meetings in advance? Where are their meeting minutes with results of votes on “positions”?  Does Save Dunwoody volunteer in the community and give back? -- that “Adopt a Spot” on Mt. Vernon is looking pretty bare… Why is the website’s ownership hidden under a private registration using a proxy in Arizona? Save Dunwoody makes claims about hidden agendas & backdoor deals in our City Government. Where is the transparency of the accusing organization?


 Until basic questions as the above can be answered, would you lend your name and reputation by signing a petition or taking any action of support of a cloaked & hidden “organization” with no accountability?


 In contrast, look at the Dunwoody Homeowners Association. They are legally organized, registered and incorporated with the Secretary of State in Georgia. They are a formally-recognized IRS 501(c)4 Non-Profit and file tax returns. They have open Public Meetings. They have named officers & directors. Records of Meeting Minutes and votes are available. Membership allows for nomination & subsequent voting for their Board of Directors. For only $40 a year, I highly recommend membership.


 In closing, 100% of the people will never agree on 100% of our city’s issues and actions. I certainly have not agreed with everything the council has approved since incorporation. But life is short and precious. Let’s appreciate all of the good & give thanks for our community and our neighbors. We ARE better off now than we were before cityhood. I appreciate the investment the city is dong for our future. I’m proud to live here and to be actively engaged in our community.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Brookhaven Readies for Multi-Use Trails in Stream Buffers

Looks like Brookhaven is setting in place the pieces to develop a 12 mile trail running along a stream buffer off on the North Fork of Peachtree Creek. They’re partnered with the PATH Foundation, too.

“We are pleased that the City of Brookhaven will soon be connected to the PATH system,” said Ed McBrayer, Executive Director of the PATH Foundation.  “We look forward to establishing a partnership with the City to provide trails and greenways that will promote a healthier, happier lifestyle.”

City of Brookhaven has adopted their Stream Buffer Ordinance to include “impervious public trails and paths” which allows a hard-surface, multi-modal path for walkers, bicyclists, baby strollers, and other pedestrians.”

The North Fork Connectors are a group advocating for such a public trail along a 12-mile stretch of a wide creek that runs near I-85 and extends from I-285 near Mercer University to the vicinity of the Lindbergh MARTA station, where the North Fork converges with the South Fork of Peachtree Creek to become Peachtree Creek. The path will eventually connect to the Belt Line and connect to other paths throughout the Atlanta area.


The North Fork Connectors meet with Brookhaven City Council member, Joe Gebbia

North Fork Connectors Organization: http://northforkconnectors.org/

"The North Fork Connectors hope to create a public linear park along the North Fork for walking, cycling, and paddling"

Imagine having a trail along a stream and coming upon this!



Historical local examples of trails running along streams in Metro Atlanta: South Peachtree Creek & Big Creek in Roswell / Alpharetta


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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Dunwoody Start: Georgia Rides to the Capitol

Calling All Dunwoody Cyclists for
Georgia Rides to the Capitol



At a glance:
·     Nearly 2,000 area cyclists ride to the Capitol to support bike safety
·     Ride with Dunwoody Elected Officials along a police-escorted route
·     Meet at Fresh Market in Dunwoody Village at 9:30 AM on  Tuesday, March 18th
·     Enjoy the 16-mile, ~2-hour ride to the Capitol; ride MARTA or bike home
·     Free event, $20 suggested donation, complimentary snacks at starting point
·     Pre-register at www.GeorgiaRidesToTheCapitol.org


             *** Note: Only registered riders are covered by event insurance ***
Don’t miss the 9th Annual Georgia Rides to the Capitol event. Show your state officials that you care about bicycling! The Dunwoody group will depart at 9:45 AM on a police-escorted route along Mt. Vernon Rd and will link up with Roswell riders on Roswell Road in Sandy Springs. We’ll travel at a leisurely 12 mile per hour pace, but more casual riders and families may want to join the five-mile group ride leaving from East Lake MARTA Rail Station in Decatur. There are many other starting times and locations throughout the metro area, see the event website for details. Return routes from the capitol will not be police-escorted.



Join us at the 2014 Ride to the Capitol to demonstrate your support for safe, economically vibrant communities.

Let's create a Georgia that provides residents and visitors alike great opportunities for enjoying the simple, healthy joy of riding a bike.


Facebook Event


CONTACTS
Joe Seconder
Dunwoody Coordinator
404-545-3711

Fred Boykin
GRTTC Event Coordinator
404-668-4274




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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Letter to the Editor - Dunwoody Crier

I just submitted the following letter to the Dunwoody Crier: I would have said a lot more if I could have gone up to 1,000 words... (It's 554, so we'll see if it gets published).

**************************************************************************************
There’s been an increasing perception from Letters to the Editor that we are less than happy here in Dunwoody. Have you considered how these messages are perceived by prospective home buyers or CEOs looking to relocate their businesses? Have you asked a realtor? Becoming a city means more than having autonomy; more than just zoning, code enforcement, paving and police. Being a city is allowing us to fashion and INVEST in our own future, based on citizen input through our vetted & approved master plans. All the while, the average homeowner in Dunwoody pays more for trash collection than city property tax. Talk about an ROI!

Care to have input into our community’s direction? Please don’t wait until elections every two years. Or with a 3-minute one-way Public Comment during Council meetings. When I moved to Dunwoody, we had just become a city and I didn’t know a soul. Yet in the first months of moving here, I met in person with every elected official. I met city staff members, had coffee with the President of the DHA, joined the Chamber of Commerce, volunteered and just immersed myself in developing relationships.

We have a small, dedicated and professional city staff. They are accessible and approachable. So are our Councilors and Mayor. Get to know them. Meet with them one-on-one whether you voted for them or not.

As Benjamin Franklin said, “A spoonful of honey will catch more flies than a gallon of vinegar.” See the world as “the glass is half full”; be positive, collaborate and willing to compromise. None of us always get everything that we want. Just ask anyone who’s been married, it’s about compromise. When we moved into our house, I wanted a “Man Cave”. I got the big screen TV and an awesome sound system. My wife ended up decorating it (Oh well…). But it works and we’re both happy.

If you find yourself getting caught up with an issue, please be careful with whom you partner. The adage, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” is temporal. Be aware of their ulterior motives. Do they really share the same values and are truly your friend? Are they “using” you and adding another excuse to oppose some initiative that they just plain ‘ol don’t want? If it’s an “Organization”, verify its background. It is legally incorporated with the Georgia Secretary of State? Is there an elected board, with announced open meetings? How is it financed? Are annual reports available? Who decides the messaging & direction of the group? Who runs the website and sends emails?

Ronald Reagan said, “Trust, but verify”. News is someone’s version of what happened. Knowing the facts requires gathering information from multiple sources. We all know that opinions are like a certain part of one’s anatomy: Everyone’s got one. Aside from Executive Sessions, we as citizens have access to ALL of the same information and data as our Councilors. Subscribe to the city’s email alerts.

Back in the Regan era, at the end of the day, the President & Tip O’Neil would set aside their differences, and have a drink or two. Instead of showing up en masse to a public forum in an acrimonious fashion, perhaps we should be doing more of the same at one of our fine establishments right here in Dunwoody.

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