Nudging the Needle on Tilly Mill Bike Lanes: It takes a village

Editor’s note: Apologies from the staff of Bike Walk Dunwoody for the delay in getting this story out.

“It takes a village” really brings this home. In May & June we asked for public input to support bike lanes along Tilly Mill. Earlier this month, we asked for your help again. And YOU have made a difference.

Tilly Mill Rd - Cherring to N. PT

Per Dunwoody’s Director of Public Works, Michael Smith:

“We are proceeding with design to incorporate bicycle lanes along the length of the project.  We expect that additional right of way will be required and that process will have to play out before we can finalize the design.”

And Councilman John Heneghan posted this:

“The Dunwoody City Council directed staff to return to the drawing table to prepare final design options putting sidewalks on both sides of Tilly Mill Road, retention of the middle turn lane as requested by the residents who live on Tilly Mill, and reduced lane widths in order to allow bike lanes along this route to be squeezed in.  

As a Complete Street community the Dunwoody city council attempts to correct all infrastructure needs be it roads, sidewalks, crosswalks and bike lanes when a major infrastructure component is being installed because attempting to retrofit these items after the fact is either impossible or unfeasible.”

In May, this was presented as a sidewalk project, with an option to consider bike lanes + sharrows. In June, we had nine people speak out in support of bike lanes at the city council meeting. And dozens more of you sent in emails and even responded with letters to the editor in support.

With just a day or so advance notice of the December 14th city council meeting which again proposed sidewalks, partial bike lanes and sharrows, you all AGAIN stepped up to the plate with emails. And four of you took the time on a Monday evening to go to city hall and speak up for bike lanes. Including 13 year old Charles Bolocan.

Checkout this video of the December 14th City Council meeting. The first 11 minutes, you’ll hear Public Comments from Dunwoody residents why they would like bike lanes.

To hear the staff present their proposal, and then listen to the council offer their input, questions and guidance, jump to 11:06. Or just click HERE.

2009 Georgia Rides to the Capitol, left to right: Dunwoody Mayor Ken Wright, Governor Deal, & Councilors Robert Wittenstein and Doug Thompson

2009 Georgia Rides to the Capitol, left to right: Then Dunwoody Mayor Ken Wright, Governor Deal, & Councilors Robert Wittenstein and Doug Thompson. (Credit: Timothy J/Creative Commons)

Listen to city councilman Doug Thompson, an Ironman triathlete and road cyclist explain the value of Complete Streets and dedicated bicycle facilities over sharrows to his fellow councilors at minute 27:48 through 32:42, or just click HERE.

During the May & December sessions, our city council spent nearly 60 minutes in pubic session discussing the feasibility of adding bike lanes on Tilly Mill.

Here’s the May council session discussion:


Here’s the public comments from the June council meeting where nine people spoke in support and one against bike lanes (The opponent lives on Tilly Mill).

In the Press

Your staff at Bike Walk Dunwoody was pleasantly shocked to learn that WSB TV somehow picked up the story which was broadcast live during the 5 pm airing right before the council session. Checkout what Sam Schlam — the property owner interviewed says: He WANTS the city to put in the sidewalks and bike lanes along his front yard! As it’s better than the big drainage ditch that exists today:

WSB TV Screen Shot

And 13-year old Charlie Bolocan has a great shout out in the coverage by the Reporter Newspapers:

Reporter Paper Cover

Can you even THINK of a city — especially a suburb — in the entire state of Georgia where their elected officials spend this much of time seriously proposing BIKE LANES??!!  With your help and our gratitude to our city council and super-dedicated staff, we truly ARE moving the needle in “retrofitting suburbia” in Dunwoody to create a connected network of safer facilities for persons to be able to move around on foot or by bicycle.

Our holiday wish??? Please send a note of THANKS for their hard work and support:

Our Mayor & Council at: councilmembers@dunwoodyga.gov

Mayor-elect Denis Shortal: dshortsmar@comcast.net

and cc: Michael Smith, Public Works Director; Mindy Sanders, Public Works Project Manager; Eric Linton, City Manager; Jessica Guinn, Assistant City Manager.

at: michael.smith@dunwoodyga.gov; mindy.sanders@dunwoodyga.gov;eric.linton@dunwoodyga.gov; jessica.guinn@dunwoodyga.gov

and cc: bikewalkdunwoody@gmail.com

But wait, there’s more

Stay tuned. We expect there will be at least TWO MORE council meetings & decisions. That means be on the lookout for another quick turnaround to be engaged. (Council meetings usually are on Monday. Agendas are usually posted on-line the Friday before. We have to proactively monitor the city’s website, read each agenda and see if there’s anything we need to inform the public about.)

#1: Sometime in 2016 the revised plan will be presented. Can the staff / consultant agree to go to 10-foot wide motor vehicle travel lanes? How wide should the center turn lane be? What will the 20 or so property owners say that are affected? Will they donate, sell or offer an easement to the city for additional land if necessary?  It might end up just being a couple of property owners that would need to give up an extra foot or two. It all depends on the revised plan. What is good is that project already is included in the approved 2016 budget.

#2: Then the council will vote to award the contract to build it. Could be in late 2016, or in 2017 to coincide with the North Peachtree / Tilly Mill / Peeler intersection completion.

Reference

For reference of the project background and documents, please go to this post click HERE.

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