Let me forewarn you, today's post will be a little lengthy but it will be packed full of headlines that we have found interesting over the past month or so. Since our last review, we have been to Salt Lake City and Southern California. It was nice to be able to ride the UTA light rail system in Utah and walking around Santa Monica and Venice Beach in Southern Cal was a treat. These were great examples of ways that transit and walkability can improve an area. I'm not going to get into it here but if you have a chance, check them out.
Let's kick it off with some Roswell updates.
This one struck home with me since I own a condo in the historic district. The number of units sold was an increase of 69% year over year. I think it is obvious that the trend in real estate is toward smaller homes and less maintenance. I LOVE not having a yard.
This one is more in Milton but it is right on our back door. Four new homes have broken ground in Crabapple Crossing. This is good news for the Crabapple area and North Fulton in general. It tells me that home buyers are serious about buying in more walkable, social and livable areas. The retail area in Crabapple is not quite where it needs to be yet but it will get there. If you haven't been to the Olde Blind Dog Irish Pub yet, I recommend that you check it out.
The new sidewalk officially opens Wednesday Sept 1st at noon. Although I don't necessarily think it's the most walkable place, it is definitely a needed improvement for pedestrians in that area of the city. Great work getting this done Roswell!
This plan is part of a region wide effort that is being coordinated by the ARC. After all areas have been completed, the ARC will compile and submit to the federal government for approval. This is a 25 year planning effort so don't expect overnight miracles. Below are some of the items that the authors of the article expect will be on the North Fulton project list that impact Roswell:
- Connect Big Creek Greenway to Roswell's Chattahoochee River Walk along Riverside Road
- Enhance bike and pedestrian facilities along Riverside Road and Holcomb Bridge Road, creating a complete east-west bike/pedestrian route through north Fulton
- Remove reversible lanes from Marietta Highway to Riverside Road and widen to four lanes.
- Enhance Hardscrabble Road to a divided two-lane with a median and turn lanes from Ga. 92 to Crabapple Road
- Enhance Houze Road to a divided two-lane with turn lanes from Rucker Road to Mansell Road
This is a disappointment to me as I would like to have seen New Broad Street land this property. New Broad Street developed Celebration in Florida and is committed to mixed-use new urbanist developments. Even though this deal is dead, I believe this property will be sold relatively soon. Here is a website that provides and overview of what New Broad Street had planned.
It looks like almost half a million is heading toward the Beltline from the Feds. That's just a drop in the bucket when compared to what the overall price tag will be but every bit helps.
I found it very interesting that the Beltline would take a back seat here. I'm not a proponent of the Atlanta Streetcar initiative. I think it's a boondoggle that will serve tourists more than citizens. I do understand that there are some neighborhoods in the area that will be served by the streetcar but I don't think it makes as much sense as actually getting the Beltline up and running as quickly as possible.
In a response to the previous headline, the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition voices it's concerns about putting a streetcar on Atlanta's busiest bicycle corridor (had no idea about that).
John Weiland homes is planning to build 107 single-family homes and townhomes in the unfinished Downtown Woodstock development. This is a fantastic place and I was happy to read that a quality builder was going to finish off where Hedgewood Properties had to stop.
The American Conservative has launched an online symposium to discuss why conservatives should care about transit. All too often I hear conservative thinkers make the case that transit is a bad idea because it does not pay for itself. That argument and more are examined here.
All I can say is that we need these and they will work.
It was great to hear that form/transect based codes are seriously picking up steam. We need to jump on the wagon here in Roswell and Atlanta. Notable quote:
over 330 cities and towns around the world — representing over 40 million people — have embraced the idea of form-based coding as an alternative to the sprawl-inducing zoning models of the past century. We’ve hit the tipping point. Welcome to the other side.
Now More Than Ever, Smart Growth Makes Dollars and Sense - Smart Growth Around America
As we know, the demand for walkable, mixed-use development has been increasing for years. The studies referenced in this post provide some interesting data points. Notable quote:
..in Sarasota County, Florida, an urban residential development generates830% more in annual county taxes than a comparable multi-family suburban development. And, the clincher: In Sarasota, “Suburban housing takes 42 years to pay off its infrastructure costs” while downtown infrastructure is paid off in 3. (Curious for more? A presentation on Sarasota’s study can be found here)
Facts & Fun
These two are both from FailBlog
Mario Kart Bike Lane - Making bike commuting fun. We need more of this.
Street Crossing Fail - Huh?
And this one was all over the internet but we found it on The Infrastructurist
Chinese Lane Straddling Bus - Man, I could totally see one of these on 400.