Brookhaven, GA, April 7, 2017 – by Renee Turner for The Post – Through a collaborative effort between Brookhaven, Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, and the Perimeter Community Improvement District (PCID), the Last Mile Connectivity Study (LMCS) has been completed. Focusing on hubs and transit connections located within this tri-city area home to nearly 200,000 people, the concentration of the study is in the northern portion of the Perimeter.
Nationwide, Connectivity has become a main point of focus addressing the issue of city governments trying to find better ways of utilizing various modes of transportation and better ways to connect street routes and roadways. The U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2015, held a DOT Connectivity Executive Roundtable forum where the ARC (Atlanta Regional Commission) was among the presenters. The forum was organized to help states create transportation connections that impact jobs, education, health, government, and more.
On a local level, municipalities and stakeholders are focusing on the value of connectivity as cities experience an upsurge in population growth, density and congested roadways. The report cities PCIDs as “self-taxing business districts established in 2001 to supplement and enhance government services and facilities with the District. The PCIDs are a combined community improvement district, comprised of Central (DeKalb) and Fulton Perimeter Community Improvement Districts, and use property taxes to help accelerate transportation and infrastructure improvement projects”.
Factoring in the last mile through transportation nodes and corridor connections
Because of their close proximity to each other, the Brookhaven, Sandy Springs, Dunwoody tri-city area was studied by the project team who examined particular locations and factored in travel options between origins and destinations. The team looked alternatives to vehicular travel and how pedestrians, bicyclists, transit commuters could access safe and convenient transportation networks.
The last mile of commuting could include bus drop offs to the office or from the mall to the nearest transit station. The report reflects on the first and last mile connection usually consisting of one or more transportation options such as:
- Private automobile
- Shared automobile or short-term rentals (e.g. ZipCar)
- Private rider-share or ride-helping services (e.g. Uber, Lyft)
The study looks to MARTA and the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) services for the longest stretch of the journey, by including rail and bus options.
Key Tri-City Corridors
The report identifies the areas in and around the northern Perimeter intersecting the three cities, two counties (Fulton and DeKalb), two major thoroughfares with Perimeter boundaries roughly four square miles straddling both GA 400 and I-285 and activity centers. These activity centers include City Springs (Sandy Springs), Dunwoody Village, Georgetown (Dunwoody), and the MARTA Brookhaven/Oglethorpe Station (Brookhaven) areas.
Within these targeted areas, there is access to four MARTA stations with daily commuters from the three cities and five MARTA bus connectivity routes including Routes 5, 87, 148, 25, and 150. Based on the report, pinpoints in those specific corridors provide connecting nodes or pathway intersections, and connecting points rather than “specific distance”.
The goal of the LMCS is to also create a consolidated investment program within a multi-modal infrastructure that explores present and future transit opportunities for residents, workers, and visitors whom travel to well-connected and accessible workplaces, commercial areas, educational institutions, health facilities and open spaces; and, as a result, will impact economic development and competitiveness.
The methodology used for the study included reviewing nearly 60 plans, identifying 600+ projects, looking for connection gaps and overlapping, developing a transit vision draft, holding public open houses, and providing drafts and the final report. PCID provided The Post with the final report that is embedded below.
City of Brookhaven
What is specifically cited in the LMCS for Brookhaven are planned and programmed projects for investing in bicycle and pedestrian facilities establishing recommendations for walking and biking arterials and roads from the Brookhaven Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Trail Plan (in 2016); and the Ashford Dunwoody Corridor Study identifying multi-modal improvements for road extension between Peachtree Road and the northern city limit near I-285.
Focus is placed on the Brookhaven/Oglethorpe MARTA Station multi-modal improvements at Peachtree Road, Dresden Drive, and North. Druid Hills Road. The study also recommends operational improvements to Johnson Ferry Road from Ashford Dunwoody Road to Sandy Springs/Brookhaven city limits.
The ultimate goal of the entire study is to provide choices other than personal automobiles for short-distance trips and to provide connecting links when beginning or ending longer trips, while encouraging use of existing transit, improving mobility through vehicular traffic management, and more. Short-term, mid-term, and long-term recommendations for improvements to sidewalks, wayfinding methods, MARTA enhancements, roads, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and needing feasibility and corridor studies.
The Request for Proposal for the study was issued by the City of Sandy Springs, and Gresham, Smith and Partners who were the contracted as consultants for the study. Brookhaven Councilmembers unanimously approved adopting the LMCS during their March 28th City Council Meeting.