Walk the Walk

Walking the Walk

By Dennis Mobley    president@inmanpark.org

At the February meeting of the Inman Park Neighborhood Association (IPNA), we experienced not one but two examples of how we all might better “walk the walk”.

Our first example was an outgrowth of the remarks made and questions answered by Atlanta’s exciting new Planning Commissioner, Tim Keane. Of course the tenor of many attendees’ comments and questions were regarding traffic and pedestrian safety. (After all, it WAS an Inman Park meeting). In response, Tim (as he likes to be called) made a confession. He does not own a car. He also in effect issued a challenge: He cited statistics that calculate the average number of car-trips made per day by suburban households: Twelve (12). Further, he revealed the corresponding average for America’s truly great, urban, walkable cities is seven (7). He said that here in Atlanta we will not thrive as a genuinely great urban city if we simply “out-suburb the suburbs”.

He acknowledged that he has enlisted BeltLine visionary Ryan Gravel in helping him envision a City of Atlanta numbering over a million souls (vs. the current 450,000). He foresees a downtown that, by itself, houses 450,000 people. He acknowledges that current City zoning requires suburban-level numbers of parking spaces, and that this will be re-examined on his watch, beginning with areas (like us) fronting on the BeltLine. It appears he believes the theory I’ve read about that says requiring numerous intown parking spaces in new developments is tantamount to fertility drugs for automobiles! Are we perhaps seeing the effects in our very own neighborhood?

He was in effect holding up a future where people actually decide where to live in relation to how they might avoid or reduce the need to drive automobiles. This is certainly how many people think in places like New York City, San Francisco, and Seattle. Do we scoff at such a vision, or do we think he’s ON to something?

The second example was the announcement by IPNA’s new Lifelong Inman Park Committee that they are unveiling a campaign to be known as “Walkable Inman Park”. The campaign will focus on the condition of our sidewalks, crosswalks, and street lighting, for starters. Granted, various committees within IPNA have been separately focusing on these issues for some time. But now we have a new way of looking at all of these initiatives: It’s all about making it easier and safer to walk in and through Inman Park. To tie this to our Planning Commissioner’s vision, it could help us each reduce the average number of car-trips we make each day in the future.

You will be hearing much more from Cathie Berger and her high-powered Committee going forward, and meanwhile they urge you to take a look at the condition of the sidewalks in front of your home and on your street. Are they walkable? Further, take a look outside at night and determine whether your streetscape is adequately lit? And I add a third query: Is our Security Patrol adequately funded to further enhance the feeling of being safe while walking about in Inman Park?

The Committee will partner with Georgia Tech to cause a comprehensive video survey of our sidewalks to be made. (The Ramblin’ Wrecks are envisioning a city-wide visual catalog of all City sidewalks!). Homeowners will be asked to upgrade theirs where needed and IPNA will be asked to expand its current program of subsidizing such repairs.

All of which is to say, it’s time to Walk the Walk!

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Comments on "Walk the Walk"

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Klaus Roesch - Monday, March 14, 2016
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One thought comes to mind regarding the parking discussion: the quoted urban living examples have - to the best of my knowledge - fully functional and extensive public transportation systems. Certainly true for NYC. We do NOT and our new street car line is a perfect example how NOT do introduce public transportation, not even operated by the public transportation authority. In recent discussions on the state and city level I have not heard any beginnings of how and when to put meaningful public transportation on to the belt line and it already looks to be somewhat too crowded to ever accomplish this without destroying what we have got so far. All some of our planners talk about is adding more buses? One more thought: new street lights - when I turn out of my driveway on Spruce the lights on the pole between #81 and #89 are adjusted in such a way as to fully shine directly in my eyes. Is there any possibility for post installation measures of light levels and directional adjustments? I understand the security issues but excessive and blinding light levels make the garden shrubs just that much darker. Klaus at 81 Spruce, watching Waddell and everything near us drowning in traffic and cars, not only on weekends.

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