Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day; Update from Councilman Nall

The following update from sent from Councilman Terry Nall (if you are a reader of John Heneghan's blog, you know I'm a day (or two) late on this!  
I know a lot of folks are upset with council these days (and I still believe those folks are in the vocal minority), but we are better off since becoming a city.  If we remained in unincorporated DeKalb County, our taxes would be higher, we'd have less police protection and a lot fewer streets would be paved!  Do I agree with everything council does?  No, but these three points cannot be argued.

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Dunwoody Village Parkway

Despite my efforts to pass an alternative plan, the majority of Council (vote 5-2) concluded the existing parkway plan approved by the 2011 Council is best for Dunwoody's future. This was after careful research and deliberation by my fellow Council Members. The deliberation phase of this project is now over and it is time for implementation. Because of grant funds will subsidize the city's cost, many administrative details are now underway. Construction is tentatively expected for this August, which will avoid the Dunwoody's Independence Day parade.

Brook Run Multi-Purpose Trail

The Dekalb Superior Court injunction that halted this trail construction was lifted by the presiding judge on February 4. The homeowners' lawsuit may continue, but the burden of demonstrating irreparable damages by the trail was not met by the plaintiffs, as determined by the judge. Construction will resume as soon as the contractor re-mobilizes the crew, which is expected mid-February.
I attended each day of the court hearings in order to hear the evidence and arguments of the plaintiffs, as well as hear greater detail from the city's engineers and trail consultants. Every design feature of the trail has a specific rationale behind it. This includes having the trail compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in order to make the trail available to those with disabilities, limited mobility, or other hindrances not faced by able-bodied persons. The final design also allows access by emergency vehicles when needed.
In contrast, the alternative trail design preferred by those who signed a noted petition for presentation to City Council erroneously does not result in ADA compliance and thus, excludes park amenity access by disabled and limited mobility citizens. Some signers noted that they preferred a mulch trail to any paved surface. This would also preclude families with strollers or families with bicycles from enjoying this park amenity.
I do not support citizen exclusivity. Dunwoody is better than that. Our park amenities should be available to all citizens, not just the able-bodied. The petitioners' approach also prevents access by emergency vehicles. All it takes is one medical emergency where the window of survivability is critical and the current trail design will prove invaluable. As with the Dunwoody Village Parkway, the deliberation phase of this project is over and now is time for implementation.

This past week, the city released an update on the trail that contains the latest information and rationale. I encourage you to read it, as it contains excellent up-to-date information. The release is at this web link: Updated Info About Brook Run Multi-Purpose Trail

False Alarm Ordinance

Council approved the city's first False Alarm Ordinance that affects businesses and residents with alarm company monitored alarm systems. For the last four years, Dunwoody paid the price for having no policy about false alarms. Each year, our police respond to over 4,000 false alarms, which is an average of over 80 per week. This is excessive. We have a modest-sized police force and false alarms tie up officers who would otherwise by available for 911 calls. False alarms are avoidable with intentional system maintenance and attentiveness by alarm owners. Implementation details for the new ordinance will be forthcoming when implementation begins in a few months.

Intersection Improvements

This is a key priority for me. We must ease our intersection congestion as the city population continues to grow and more vehicles are added to our streets. Each intersection project takes an estimated 18-24 months for the entire timeline of preliminary design, final design, bids, easements and right of way acquisition, and finally construction.
The intersection improvement for Tilly Mill, N. Peachtree, and Peeler is now underway with easements and right of way work. Construction is expected to begin either late 2013 or early 2014.
The Vermack/Womack intersection remains in the design phase to incorporate the issues raised during public and neighborhood meetings, as well as other public input received. These two intersections are our first to be considered as we seek to improve 1-2 intersections each year under our "pay-as-you-go" policy.

With the arrival of 2013, two new intersection improvements to start the conceptual design process include Mt. Vernon at Vermack and Chamblee-Dunwoody at Spalding.

2013 Street Paving
Bids have not been received, but the preliminary list of summer road paving and related improvements from our prioritized paving list include the below listed streets. Once bids are received and reviewed, Council will then decide if the below list should be adjusted under our "pay-as-you-go" policy:

Chamblee-Dunwoody Rd (from Cambridge to Valley View; awarded grant funds)
Chamblee-Dunwoody Rd (from Womack to Roberts)
Mt. Vernon Rd (from Nandina to Vernon Oaks)
Perimeter Center Pl (from Perimeter Center W to Meadow Lane)
Crowne Pointe Pkwy (from Meadow Ln to Perimeter Center W)
Meadow Ln (from Ashford-Dunwoody to Crown Pointe Pkwy
Peachford Rd (from Dunbar to N. Peachtree)
Spalding Dr (from Chamblee-Dunwoody to Weldston)
Redfield Ln (from Redfield Dr to end)
Redfield Dr (from Redfield Rd to Redfield Ln)
Redfield Cir (from Redfield Ln to end)
Mill Gate Ct (from Bend Creek to end)
Mill Race Ct (from Mill Trace to end)
Mill Shire Ln (from Dunwoody Club to Mill Glen)
Mill Trace Dr (from Dunwoody Club to Bend Creek)
Trowbridge Dr (from East End to Ball Mill)
Trowbridge Cv (from Trowbridge Dr to end)
Tamworth Ct (from Trowbridge to end)
Ashmont Ct (from Mt. Vernon to end)

If you have input or suggestions on these or other city topics, please contact me. Also, I am available to present to organizations, church groups, neighborhood associations, etc.

Terry Nall
Dunwoody City Council (At Large)

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