The planning process is well underway and from what I can tell, there are a lot of good ideas being put forth. I attended the final presentation of the three day Focus Area Workshop. The workshp focused on the Holcomb Bridge/GA 400 interchange and the area that surrounds it. There were essentially two proposals that came out of the workshop and both of them were pretty good.
My belief is that this interchange is ripe for redevelopment as well as for transit oriented development. Within the next 20 years, I foresee this interchange becoming the economic center of Roswell. You can forget about the Holcomb Bridge/Alpharetta Hwy intersection where our 'Town Center' Plaza is. What really surprised me about tonight's session was the amount of energy that I saw around smart growth and new urbanist ideas. Even if people didn't really know what those terms meant, they knew that they wanted walkability, connectivity, mixed-use, density and transportation. Here are some of the more interesting ideas that I saw:
- Loop of pedestrian flyways that would encircle the area and provide pedestrian accessibility that does not exist currently
- Create multiple right turns off of the 7A exit that would turn right into a town center and onto Holcomb Bridge giving drivers additional turn options getting off 400
- BRT Station at exit 7A that would provide transit access
- Medium density development along Holcomb Bridge corridor expanding east and west from the 400 HBr interchange
Some of the comments that I heard compared the area to Atlantic Station and other highly urban mixed-use developments. Personally, I don't want to see Atlantic Station here in Roswell but the tightly knit, mixes of use that Atlantic Station provides are exactly what I would like to see. Many of the people I talked to were keen on development in excess of 6 stories in that area. I don't think that will work and I'm beginning to lean further and further away from tall buildings for many reasons (many of which are outlined here). The one thing that I did not see a plan for was a MARTA train connection in this area. They were focusing more on the BRT bus mode. The train station is a long way off but I still think there needs to be a plan in place to accommodate that expansion.
From what I can tell the community is really coming out to support the process and there are many great ideas that are coming out of the process. The key is to participate.