Cut-through or Connectivity?

There is a proposal floating around in its early stages for the Goulding property.  It would significantly increase the intensity of development along a new street through the 6 acre property by adding 28 townhomes and 10 detached houses.  The initial review of this proposal was at the Oct 9th Historic Preservation Commission meeting.  

To put it lightly, it did not go well.  Representation from every home on Goulding Pl showed up to voice their opposition.  They didn't like the intensity and felt that this plan would increase traffic and endanger pedestrians who regularly walk in the streets as there are no sidewalks.  

I spoke out in favor of one thing in the plan.  I do think that townhomes are a stretch for that property but they could work if done properly.  What I was in favor of was the street connectivity.  Here are some illustrations that make my point..

There are some topography challenges but this lack of connectivity is pitiful.

The site plan presented in Oct could provide for significant connectivity that could benefit local traffic. Red lines denote potential added connections.

The key here is to develop the street in a way that would not encourage cut-through traffic.  It is absolutely possible and can be done easily.  Lane widths should be NARROW.  The same width as those in Vickery Village in Cumming or even the Webb St in Historic Roswell.  Here's an image of a streescape from Vickery Village from DPZ as well as a Google Street View of Webb St

Street widths with 9 ft lanes successfully constrain speeds and cut-through traffic. image: DPZ.comWebb St with very narrow lanes. You simply can't speed here. image: Google StreetView

Here's my take on the street piece of this development.

Benefits (assumes narrow street widths of 9' lanes)

 

  • Added connectivity which will significantly increase walkability and bikability for residents north and west of the historic district
  • Potential for excellent infill development (keyword is potential)
  • Potential for much more connectivity in the future
  • Ability to draw some pedestrian and car traffic off Canton St (this is a city benefit and would obviously not be viewed the same way for those living on Goulding)
  • Historic home would become more accessible to the public

 

Drawbacks

 

  • Traffic would undoubtedly increase on Goulding Pl & Windy Pines Tr (really only a drawback for those living on Goulding and Windy Pines)
  • Some historic character would be lost around the Goulding house (but who sees it now anyway?)

 

In my book, this new street plan would be a huge win for the city.  It may be the only opportunity that Historic Roswell gets to add connectivity to this area.  If we get this wrong, it will be a big loss.  The next review looks to be December 10th.  More to come.