We're playing a little catch up here with the backlog of interesting stories that are worthy of comment. Here's a recap of what we've seen out there on the interwebs of late.
First though, I could probably do a whole post on this but I thought everyone would like to read what Jim Kunstler started is blog post recapping his trip to Atlanta for CNU18 with... "If the Devil created an anti-city, a place where people would feel least human, Atlanta would surely be that place -- despite the prayerful babble of tongues emanating from the evangelical roller rinks at every freeway off-ramp.: To read the full post click here. Also, his most recent podcast focuses on the city of Atlanta and you must check out his post The Horror of Downtown Atlanta. It's hysterical and painful all in the same breath.
Personally, I think Alpharetta needs the city center project a whole lot more than it needs a beautified Main St/Hwy 9. I drive that route every day at rush hour from Roswell to Windward Pkwy and back. It is rare that there is significant congestion. Don’t get me wrong, it does get backed up but nothing like other areas. The more you cater to the car, the more cars will come. I do like the fact that there will be sidewalks and the streetscape will be beautified but that won’t do as much for the city. What has a beautified streetscape on Windward done? It’s brought a bunch of crappy development that can’t be accessed by anything other than a car. Yes, there are sidewalks but they don’t get much use.
Any relief to the dreaded congestion on Holcomb Bridge Road is welcome. There will be an informational session held at the Doubletree on Holcomb Bridge Rd in Roswell from 630pm - 830pm on Tuesday June 15th. The current plan is for a two-lane road with bicycle lanes and a multi-use trail which will connect east and west Roswell across Ga. 400.
Here's a sneak peek at the four keys... Read the article if you want more detail.
1. Allow road and transit projects to compete evenly.
2. Create the right road/transit balance.
3. Persuade the region that we all benefit from the plan.
4. Create a truly regional transit system.
Notable Excerpt: Georgia ranks 49th in per capita spending for transportation and is the only state among the ten largest (and one of only six overall) that provides no state funding for transit.
Apparently the GDOT has been doing a little work on some rail planning. We've already fallen behind the 8 ball in the HSR game but I guess it's never too late to ask for help. The state is asking for $16.5M to plan the construction of a HSR loop that would go from Atlanta to Athens to Augusta to Savannah to Macon and back to Atlanta. Wow!
This came as a surprise to me. I had never thought of a light rail system in Atlanta that connected to no other train systems. Essentially, Cobb is looking at a 14 mile light rail line running from the Cumberland Galleria area in Smyrna to the Town Center area in Kennesaw. It would link into bus systems but it would not connect to any other rail systems. In a way, I like the idea as it will reduce traffic along a major corridor but I think I'd have to see a lot more TOD in the area to be convinced that it would really work. It wouldn't be in place until at least 2019, so we can take some time to figure it out.
This interview with Andres Duany definitely sparked some buzz. His suggestion that the millenial generation behaves like locusts when they find a downtown area with atmosphere, basically coming in in huge groups that the area wasn't designed to accommodate and ruining the urban fabric, caused quite a stir. This is worth a read. Good luck loading the comments though.
This op-ed from Roger K. Lewis makes a good, layperson case for smart growth. It addresses the common concerns from most suburban dwellers about density, road building and traffic congestion. It is the common mis-conception that smart growth will immediately bring downtown urbanity to the suburbs and that quiet suburban neighborhoods will be forced to accommodate throngs of automobiles and traffic. This just simply isn't the case and more op-ed's of this nature are needed to help people understand.
I've really been curious about how Detroit is going to deal with the shrinking of it's population. It has approximately 90,000 vacant or abandoned structures. They are planning on tearing down 3,000 of those before the end of September.
Notable Quote: "Neighborhoods that are considered stable are now at 20% vacancy," said Deborah Younger, a development consultant involved in the demolition effort.
Florida continues to stay one step ahead of Georgia (and this isn't just football). They have received federal approval for their HSR plans to connect virtually all of the major cities in the state.
Facts & Fun Stuff
Planetizen posted a really cool Periodic Table of Planning
Streets take up approximately 1/3rd of the typical american city.
One in five American drivers could not pass the written driving exam.
Walkscore Ranks Turner Field the 24th most walkable baseball stadium in MLB.