Bikes a possible solution to Dunwoody traffic

Bikes a possible solution to Dunwoody traffic

Dunwoody officials discussed a possible plan to bring more cyclists to the Perimeter area during a regularly scheduled city council meeting.

Yvonne Williams, president and chief executive officer of the Perimeter Community Improvement District (PCID), said Dunwoody should look at ways of incorporating alternative means of transportation such as bicycles to maintain its position as a “premier office and retail market.”

Williams listed cycling as a preference for young professionals, a lifestyle choice for emerging markets and a worthwhile commuting option due to the region’s density. 

“What would infrastructure need to look like to incorporate bicycling?” Williams asked. “Bicycling will support the Perimeter in ways we’ve never seen before. We never thought 10 years ago that the residential community would have density toward transit stations,” she explained.

Williams outlined the number of commuters who bike to transit stations, use MARTA and never enter a car. She also mentioned such strategies as third-party bike shares, which allows bicycles to be rented.

“We have a wealth of amenities to where we can have that type of program,” Williams said.

According to Williams’ plan, implementing correct cycling measures begins with a promotional campaign, government or non-profit taking the lead, developing committed partners, proper funding and proper infrastructure.

Dunwoody resident Cheryl Summers voiced a negative opinion to city council, stating the initiative was a “backdoor attempt to implement a change to [Dunwoody’s transportation master plan].”

“[The master transportation plan] is supposed to be conducted this year,” she said. “Here we are throwing something in that we haven’t even considered. There’s been no public comment, no public surveys.”

Summers likened the initiative to a May 2015 issue where a Tilly Mill Road sidewalk plan morphed into a discussion about bicyclists, cars, left-turn lanes and sidewalks. She spoke at that meeting as well, stating she would prefer more sidewalks rather than more bike lanes within city limits. 

“It makes me question who was involved in putting this together,” Summers said. “Could it be the same people from our biking community who are pushing their own agenda again? This should be tabled until the master transportation plan is presented.” 

A new transportation master plan for Dunwoody is scheduled to be completed this year. A master plan is completed every five years to “guide the city’s capital budgeting” each year according to city documents.

The  Comprehensive Transportation Plan approved March 2011 shows that Tilly Mill Road was scheduled for $200,000 in “signed bike route and/or sharrows” before 2015. Chamblee-Dunwoody Road is the only road scheduled for on-street bike lanes between 2016 and 2020.

Councilman Doug Thompson said the council should be responsive to traffic issues in the Dunwoody area.

Councilman Terry Nall said it was one thing to create biking infrastructure in residential areas, but another to link them to commercial ones.

“When you start talking about biking, you hear a lot of buzzwords like ‘live, work, play,’” Nall said. “But is there any empirical evidence that shows workers want to bike to work? I see nothing that says this will take 2,000 or 5,000 cars off the road.” 

Councilwoman Lynn Deutsch said the Perimeter area is changing and Dunwoody should be ahead of the curve.

“Traffic is going to drive people to take alternative means of transportation,” Deutsch said. “I think it’s going to change the decision making factors young single people make in terms of where they live. I’m interested to see how this evolves.” 

Mayor Denis Shortal and councilman John Heneghan said the city should do whatever is possible to foster an alternative to driving in Dunwoody.

“To sit here and do nothing is a mistake,” Shortal said. “We have to think outside the box on this.” 

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