I have a passion to connect our community in more ways than one - including human-powered means. But what's more so is my love of Dunwoody: Protecting our community. Improving public safety. Looking at how we spend our city taxpayer dollars and asking "What else we could be doing?"; being engaged, building coalitions and creating a better city TODAY.
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
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.