Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dunwoody City Council decision on Monday may modify long term plans for Dunwoody Village Parkway


PDF document
Below is a post from January 12th where council was given an update on DV Pkwy and Monday is the first time this matter has come back in front of council for any reason.  If Monday's item fails for lack of overall community support then the funds might soon be freed up for other large transportation projects.  I personally have heard a lot of con and very little pro therefore I could use some feedback from both the residents and local business community (Regency) on the Parkway decision.  Thoughts?  Thanks.
With some of the attention that the Dunwoody Village Parkway project has commanded, city staff put together a one page document to highlight the plan and to answer some questions we have received about the project.  This project has been discussed numerous times and is part of both the Dunwoody Village and Transportation Master Plans whereby it was hoped this project would not only improve the walkability of the area, but could possibly spur future redevelopment of the center by bringing businesses closer to the street and eventually adding cross streets.

From everything I read and heard on this project, I thought it was clearly desired by the community but I am sure we will discuss this to see if it is still a transportation improvement that is desired at this cost or does it need to be modified or dropped entirely.

Below are a few links of interest and I am told that the plans for the North Peachtree Road / Tilly Mill / Peeler intersection will be released later day or in the very near future.  I will post it when I get it.

Crier Article - December 27, 2011

Dunwoody Village Overlay update April 11, 2011

Dunwoody Village Master Plan (see pages 38, 44, 46, 48, 50, 55, 57, 59)

Dunwoody Transportation Plan (see pages 61, 76, 103 #12, 173 - 178)

Early conversations of Dunwoody Village - Nov 2009

9 comments:

Rob Augustine - Dunwoody said...

John,

It appears that the new plan eliminates the median. I don't think that's a good idea. We do need resurfaced, improved road, and we need sidewalks along the roadway. But the median is a desirable element that we should maintain.

The cost is going to be $1M+ for the City and then we have the $1M+ grant. That's a good use of leverage for this project. What I don't understand is why the plan cannot be modified. Surely, keeping the median and trying to accommodate the roadway and sidewalks would be desirable. I'm not up to date on the details here, but surely there must be a way to modify this to provide the roadway and sidewalks with a median. I know many have wanted to keep the four lanes as well, which is desirable.

I think the ultimate, better, but more difficult answer is to work with the adjoining property owners and come up with some more room for sidewalks along the entire parkway, while keeping the median and perhaps the dual lanes each way. This would enhance their businesses and make the whole area more attractive. This may take the form of easements or even property dedication to the City, but would benefit everyone.

I'm leaning toward revising and improving plan working with the property owners to provide the space that's needed to do this right. Thanks for listening.

Ken Thompson said...

Rob,
Agree with the observations on median and surfacing. Can't speak to "leverage" as I generally do not see that as a good thing. Grant grubbing, which this may be an example of, often causes folks to forsake their needs to sate their greeds. The tell is the "FAQ" (more like a push poll) about losing mature trees if they acquire more right of way--there are mature trees in the median and they don't mind killing those.

This road has a never enforced 25 MPH limit and it seems reasonable to do a couple of things. 1) convert the outside lanes to wide sidewalks and bike lanes. 2) install raised pedestrian cross walks at 3-4 locations (mellow mushroom, village burger, etc.) The first would address the non-automobile accessibility of this Parkway to Nowhere and the second would help eliminate speeding that Dunwoody PD has no interest in addressing.

JerryGarcia said...

There are probably 50 mature trees in the median. What is the number? If the city cuts those down, then this project is a disaster.

Joe Seconder said...

In 2009 I sent the following to the Mayor, Council & City Officials on an out of the box "Cheap & Cheerful" idea to transform the Village Parkway from a motorized-only publically-owned right of way to a "Complete Street", incorporating Pedestrians & Bicyclists, calming traffic and dressing up the area as more business friendly. Here's my posting. There is a presentation you can download, too.
http://www.bicyclingjoe.com/2011/03/dunwoody-village-parkway-out-of-box.html

Rob Augustine - Dunwoody said...

Losing those mature trees in the median would be a disaster as Jerry points out. Ken's idea on use of outside lanes is most sensible unless you go for additional property dedication for sidewalks from property owners. It saves the median. There's so much asphalt over there that's parking lot and mostly unneeded that these property owners and the City could achieve a much better plan. This should get to Joe's "complete street". Of corse, there's the cost. John will know most about that issue.

Rob Augustine - Dunwoody said...

Why can't we keep Parkway exactly as is, resurface and improve. Then add sidewalks outside the existing tree border in the parking lot area? This saves all trees, reduces asphalt. I'm sure cost is an issue as always. Have the adjoining property owners been contacted and would they assist with a plan?

John Heneghan said...

Thanks for the comments gents, here are a few from my inbox, mostly negative with a few positive mixed in.

(Negative) I'd like to keep Dunwoody Village Parkway the same and see the funding go elsewhere .. a problematic intersection, perhaps.

(Positive) Dear Mayor and Council: As someone who drives on DVP regularly, I fully support the redesign (which I am just learning may not occur). The road as it presently exists is dangerous. At least once a week I encounter other drivers who must believe it is one lane on each side, as they drift in and out of the lanes. It is very hard to turn left out of Dunwoody Village (on either side) due to the curves and trees in the median. It is also dangerous to turn left into the area near the Jiffy Lube for the same reasons. I have also foolishly tried to walk to the village using the parkway, and I would never try it a second time. I know you can't please all the citizens with this redesign, but again, as someone who uses this route at least four times a week, it is needed.

(Negative) As a local, state and federal taxpayer and a longtime resident of Dunwoody I am adamantly opposed to the Dunwoody Parkway improvements. To remove the median and reduce the parkway to two lanes at a cost of 2.4 million dollars makes no sense to me. I have read some of the justification for the so called improvements and frankly I just don’t buy it. Certainly if one were to do a cost/benefit analysis this project would never pass muster. Further I would think this would be a low priority and any available funds could be better utilized elsewhere. Therefore the Intergovernmental Agreement with the Georgia Department of Transportation should not be approved and I hope you agree.

(Positive) I am in favor of this project. The project will act as its own type of Renaissance for the village area. The matched funding is a great deal for the city. I think if the grant were not used those funds would be sucked up immediately by a different local government. Unless you had a written promise from the state agency securing those funds for a Dunwoody project, I’d be leery of any non-binding comment from the state.

(Negative) This is a terrible idea..as well as a terrible waste of money!! Taking out the median? Yaking out those beautiful trees and bushes? What a bad idea..save that money, and use it on other important issues facing Dunwoody...if we can`t get sidewalks there..is it such a crisis? can`t pedestrians use those terrific sidewalks on Mt Vernin and Chamblee Dunwoody? I have often walked on that Parkway..one can walk in the grass, or go around. Period. This almost sounds like a makework project to create jobs..ending in less mature vegetation, terrific disruption for all the business`s around there.

(Negative) Thanks for the info on Dunwoody Parkway. A couple of thoughts: Has anyone sat at the corner of DP and Mt. Vernon and seen the long line of cars going left? Ten to twelve is not a surprise, so will there be a left turn and and a right turn lane at both ends? Has anyone thought of all the trees that will disappear in the center median? Sure will disappoint a lot of people who sit there during the Fourth of July Parade and cool the people waiting for the light at Mt. Vernon. That road needs work, but it could just be repaved and would serve the community just as well for many years, that big money could be used to pave other areas that are in desperate need.

John Heneghan said...

A few more in order to get a flavor of the responses.

(Negative - Mixed) 1. It is really kind of nuts to object to this on the grounds that it removes a lane of traffic each way. I drive on this road frequently, and bicycle on it occasionally, and really there is no need for two lanes each way. If this were one lane each way now, would anyone want to widen it to two lanes each way? The opposition would be deafening. 2. In a Crier article linked by John, Fran Millar is quoted saying "I can’t conceive that our community as a whole would be in favor of reducing two lanes of traffic in order to have bicycle lanes.” I'm not the whole community but I am part of it, and I am in favor of getting rid of two lanes of traffic for bike lanes. 3. All that said, this is certainly not the worst road in Dunwoody for bicyclists, and probably not for pedestrians and drivers. If I had to choose between this and, say, the Tilly Mill / Peeler / N. Peachtree intersection (with bike lanes!) it would be Tilly Mill. But I would also understand going with the Village first because of the grant money available.

(Negative) I couldn’t agree more with the folks that recognize that the idea of narrowing the Dunwoody parkway doesn’t makes any sense.. just because there is federal money or state money involved it doesn’t make it a good idea.. It would seem to me that with the opportunity for growth and the need to have two lanes on either side to, as is already evident, the need to have slower traffic decelerate to accommodate a right hand turn into TAX paying business… this is one idea that should be dead and buried.. we can discuss the need for bike and pedestrian lanes later on.. but really I believe that is a huge mistake.

(Negative) Frankly, I don’t know anyone who is in favor of the Dunwoody Village Parkway project, or who feels they actually had any say in it. Seems it was decided before it was ever publicized. Making the road SMALLER is ill-conceived in the first place. This street definitely takes pressure off of Dunwoody’s main intersection at Mt.Vernon and Chamblee Dunwoody, and I would think the merchants on both sides of the street would want MORE traffic, not less. Plus it looks fine just the way it is... nice median, nice trees. How many people are there in the Dunwoody bicycle lobby anyway… 7 or 8? I can’t imagine that this project has anywhere near the priority or public support of MANY other potential projects. It’s certainly not how I would spend $1M scarce dollars after the public just resoundingly defeated the transportation tax boondoggle. Personally, I think it would be a stroke of political genius if the City Council simply announced that they were going to postpone these improvements to save $1M in these difficult times! Might get the Council back in the people’s good graces, and at no cost!! I applaud your reaching out for feedback.. Once again, why doesn’t Dunwoody regularly use simple statistical surveys to find out what people actually want and to avoid costly mistakes?

(Negative) I am so concerned about the Village Parkway plan to rip up mature trees when we are trying to improve air quality and provide shade opportunities, not to mention the beauty of the landscape. Simply tell people that they can use the extra lane for a bike path and walking path and make it work or don’t do it!!! Some say we may receive a black eye because we will refuse a grant that we applied for and received.....so, I’m sorry. To save 50 or more trees? Please, vote against this nonsense!! You wanted to hear from the constituency.....I’m one against it!

Max said...

I do walk the village parkway, along the road edge and in the vast parking areas on both sides.

This roadway project should be tabled until the zoning re-write is completed. City Council can reduce the parking space ratio and that would allow the existing roadway, median, and trees to remain.

Sidewalk and bike facilities can easily be installed along the existing, largely unused, parking area. A benefit of reduced parking ratios allows foot traffic closer to the front doors of businesses.

On another note, the proposed foot trail within Brook Run is now too wide and too short. I understand that 'standards' call for 12 foot trails, but that is a poor choice in a wooded area. That project may increase erosion, but but absolutely tear up more trees.

These are two projects that ought to take a back-burner to more pressing matters, like traffic flow improvements.

Some seem to want either project, but WE NEED intersection improvements.