Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dunwoody update by Councilman Robert Wittenstein

Dear Dunwoody Friends and Neighbors,

It has been a busy month for the City of Dunwoody. After a year of discussion and investigation, we voted on Monday to contract with ChatComm (the Sandy Springs/Johns Creek joint venture) for 911 call center service. This was a difficult decision and the council was split on this (the vote was 5 to 2). In the end I supported spending additional city funds to get the higher level of service offered by ChatComm. Nothing will change for the next six months; we will use that as transition time. Expect to see us complete a cut-over around October 1.

Also this month we established a long-range transportation plan. It is available on our website: Transportation Plan. (Caution, it is 223 pages!) 

We established the following projects as our highest priority items:
Project Description
Estimated Cost
Computer controlled Automated Traffic Management Systems for the Perimeter CID as well as Dunwoody Village and Chamblee Dunwoody Road, North Shallowford Road, and North Peachtree Road corridors: Signal timing, controller upgrades, and signal interconnection.
Includes signed bike route and/or sharrows: North Peachtree Road, Tilly Mill Road, Peachford Road, Old Spring House Lane, Dunwoody Park, Perimeter Center East, Valley View Road, Meadow Lane Road,Vermack Road, Peeler Road, Happy Hollow Road, Womack Road, Olde Perimeter Way, Ridgeview Road.
Add crosswalk and refuge island to Mount Vernon Road at North Peachtree Road. (School safety)
Add left turn lane from Mt. Vernon Road to Vermack Road
At Womack Road and east driveway of Georgia Perimeter College, reconfigure on-campus traffic flow to relieve congestion as well as provide alternative access and prohibit left turns from Womack Road into college.
At Mt. Vernon Road and Chamblee Dunwoody Road, convert Nandina Lane to right in/right out only (prohibit left turns from Mt. Vernon onto Nandina).
Mt. Vernon Road at Tilly Mill Road, Change existing left/through lane to a left only lane and existing right only lane to shared right/through lane.
Prohibit left turns from Mt. Vernon Road westbound onto Mt. Vernon Place.
At Tilly Mill, re-align Mt. Vernon Place to form a “T” intersection with Tilly Mill.
At Womack Road an Vermack Road (in front of Dunwoody High School) add a traffic signal or a round-about.
Improve traffic flow and make intersection improvements on Chamblee Dunwoody Road from Vermack Road to North Shallowford.
Tilly Mill Road at North Peachtree Road, intersection improvements. Concept report required before specific recommendations.
Reconfigure Chamblee Dunwoody Road and Spalding Drive to increase safety. (Three alternative concepts outlined.)
Reconfigure Dunwoody Village Parkway to add bike lanes and sidewalks in coordination with the Dunwoody Village Master Plan.
Dunwoody Village Traffic Study to evaluate options for additional improvements.

Please keep in mind that we have not budgeted ANY of these projects. We will begin looking for grants and matching funds but none of these improvements are imminent. If we, as a community, want to invest in these projects we will have to collectively decide that they are important enough to funnel our tax dollars into them. That can be done either very slowly using our current tax dollars or more quickly by accepting higher property taxes. That will be a decision made by the community as a whole (not the City Council.)

We also completed work this month on two redevelopment master plans. One is for Dunwoody Village and one is for the Georgetown/Shallowford area. These plans act as conceptual blueprints to encourage the landowners and developers in the area. It allows private developers to see our vision for redevelopment and sends the message that if you follow this plan, you will have community support and the city’s support. It will be many years before the economy creates enough pressure for sizable redevelopment but small pieces are starting to turn over and can be built to follow these new plans.

The most difficult activity we have been engaged in lately has been development of a long-range parks master plan. This plan is still in development. What makes this so hard is the need to balance the needs of the Dunwoody community with the concerns of the neighbors. We have heard over and over through this process, “we Love living next to <> but Please, Please don’t put a <> near my house or it will ruin my quality of life.”

Many of the neighbors want to keep the parks near them just as they are. I am sympathetic to the neighbors’ concerns and I understand that there are pros and cons to living next to a public park but I am reluctant to accept the current status quo.   Before this process is over, we are bound to upset quite a few people.  As someone who has signed up for public service, that is very difficult to do.

In April we will look at folding our newly acquired 16 acre park that stretches from Chamblee Dunwoody Road over to North Shallowford Road (formally the “PVC Farm”) in Georgetown into the parks plan and I hope a revised plan will get passed in May or June. As with Transportation, it will be great to have a plan. The next step will be the community discussion on funding.

Lemonade Days (April 14-17) and The Dunwoody Arts Festival (May 7-8) are both coming up. Both are wonderful events for our community!


Jack B. Nimble said...

Nandina Lane: It would be a lot more cost effective if no turns were permitted from Mt. Vernon. Entrance and exit from Chamblee Dunwoody would make the businesses just as accessible, in my opinion.

paul said...

On Parks,

This is also a zoning issue. It's not just parks neighbors. No one is ambivalent to what is built next to their property. How about a lighted parking deck in your back yard? How about an inappropriate deck on your neighbor's house? How about uncontrolled additions to a neighbor's house? Zoning tries to protect all property owners.

Robert seems to mock the park neighbors in his email. That is unfair and inappropriate. I live next to the area of the park which already has a playground, skate park (lighted and formerly amplified sound), and a maintenance facility. There's not a whole lot more that can be built directly next to me. Many others, including the Sustainability Commission, have expressed the desire and importance of passive, green space. In a fast, busy urban environment, passive green space is a healthy, spiritual escape for many. We have it, let's not kill it.

Please understand the zoning issue and the greenspace issue expressed by many.

Also, the spending seems out of control. As an example, spending money to move baseball fields from one location to another is unnecessary and financially irresponsible.
$50 million !! ?

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody Backdoor Deals Or Just Rubes?
Some of these figures seem phenomenal. More than 11.3 Million on the wish list with no funding available but, they can boldly spend 5 Million for a property that will cost more millions just to begin to make usable. Toss in the Chatcomm backroom deal which will costs taxpayers millions more. Chatcomm/iXP a company that outright lies about privatization and their service. See this pdf from chatcomm Chatcomm lies pdf Sandy Springs got took to the bank. Dunwoody Smart People line up for some.
Still potholes all round town. How much will the Dunwoody rubes spend to prevent cat juggling?, and fix the leather seats in the airplane so they can fly their friends to the Super Bowl like a man. They actually had to put a towel down on the seat. From Steve Martin "The Jerk"