Piedmont Heights Civic Association by aax58232

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									                                        Response Document


The Piedmont Heights Civic Association (PHCA) has prepared the following in response to the request
from Atlanta BeltLine Authority for comments pertaining to the Concept Plans proposed by Atlanta
BeltLine Inc. in the Subarea 6 Master Plan and the associated Environmental Impact Analysis. The
issues and challenges within this process are many and PHCA has been actively involved in planning
efforts to address these issues and challenges. The BeltLine Transit Corridor Location Study is
extremely important as it will impact the quality of our city and neighborhoods on many different levels;
the quality of the air we breathe, transit options and opportunities, access to green space, pedestrian safety
and walkability and the potential creation of a sustainable framework that will adequately and
appropriately address future development. PHCA has engaged in a four-year planning process that
has established a benchmark of successful neighborhood collaboration that has been inclusive,
professionally guided and committed to a sensitive balancing of the various issues to create an equitable
outcome. PHCA is in the vanguard of neighborhoods that are embracing the requisite change that is
necessary to make the BeltLine vision a reality.

Throughout this process, PHCA has adopted a holistic vision for the neighborhood and the surrounding
areas. This includes a provision for the clear coordination of planning efforts in both Subarea 6 and
Subarea 7, as they greatly impact each other. A lack of coordination in this area would be a significant
lost opportunity. PHCA believes that appropriate development should occur only where a viable and
appropriate public/private framework is the basis of design and the public domain is clearly designed and
defined in such a way that reinforces those elements of the city that create a safe, walkable,
transit-oriented community. PHCA feels that urban walkability and significant transit access and options
are the key measures of successful urban redevelopment. As a key component of this success, PHCA is
requesting the adoption of, and commitment to fund and build, the Piedmont Heights Pedestrian and
Transportation Connectivity Plan which is fundamental to successful operation of these urban elements.
In addition, PHCA firmly believes that public dollars ought to be expended for public
purposes. Currently, Piedmont Heights has no publicly owned parks or open space. PHCA requests that
the entirety of the Mason/Northeast BeltLine right-of-way acquisition be reserved for public purposes and
that any excess space in the section between Piedmont Avenue and the I-85 corridor be reserved
for public purposes such as park space, a library branch or other public use.

To complement the specific Subarea concept plans presented to date, and in the absence of density data
and a time-based approach, PHCA is proposing a strategic plan for the implementation of the broad vision
outlined above. The strategic plan is based on the concept that there are many elements involved in the
successful execution of such a large-scale project and that prioritization and phasing are key components
of the implementation process. The foundation of this strategic plan is the concept of ‘Incremental
Transportation Mitigation’. PHCA addresses three fundamental elements of mobility in this process;
walkability (pedestrian mobility), traffic (automotive mobility), and transit. In addition, PHCA is
proposing that these issues and challenges are addressed through time via the implementation of
short-range planning (5 years), mid-range planning (10 years), and long-range planning (10+ years)
criteria, as well as project-specific criteria which should be executed parallel to a specific project,
regardless of the timing. The following is a proposal for the execution of the plan, from the general to the
specific and the near-term to the long-term.

        Short-range 5 year implementation – Neighborhood-specific



        Pedestrian Mobility (Walkability)

        Sidewalk repair and construction to insure the most basic level of pedestrian mobility. This
        element is critical to the proper functioning of a walkable neighborhood and should be prioritized
        in the first five years of implementation. This work is specifically outlined in the Piedmont
        Heights Infrastructure Analysis. (attached hereto and made a part hereof)

        Purchase and construction of parks to facilitate safe and walkable public components in the
        neighborhood. Currently there are no publicly owned parks or greenspaces in the Piedmont
        Heights neighborhood.

        Purchase and expansion of Gotham Park

        Preserve Morningside Baptist Church park and green space

        Preserve Rock Springs Presbyterian Church park and green space

        Identify additional potential parks and green neighborhood amenities

        Automotive Mobility (Traffic)

        Intersection improvements to facilitate smooth and appropriate traffic flow. There are a number
        of intersections that require redesign and construction to alleviate current traffic flow problems,
        direct traffic to the areas appropriate for the type of traffic (local/pass-through and
        commercial/residential), and help mitigate impact from future development.

        Piedmont/Monroe

        Montgomery Ferry/ Monroe

        Piedmont/Montgomery Ferry
Armour Drive/Monroe

Piedmont/Piedmont Circle

Piedmont/ Cheshire Bridge

Armour/Ottley and Buford Hwy Connector ingress/egress deserves particular attention and
should be reconfigured in a manner that removes heavy truck traffic from Monroe Drive.



Transit

Circulator operation connecting both the Lindbergh and Arts Center MARTA stations through
Piedmont Heights Neighborhood. PHCA believes that the operation of a shuttle system
connecting both MARTA stations through the connecting neighborhoods, including Piedmont
Heights, will act as an immediately implementable mitigation strategy that both allows efficient
connection to MARTA (significantly increasing usability), as well as act as a demonstration for
the viability of transit-based commuting.

 Implementation of a C.I.D. or similar management group consisting of single-family
homeowners, multi-family operators, condominium associations, commercial property owners,
and institutional operators. PHCA believes this collaborative approach is critical to the short and
long-term management of the implementation process.



Short-range 5 year Implementation (BeltLine-specific)



Location and construction of the BeltLine Trail/Piedmont Heights along the Piedmont Heights
side of I-85, from Piedmont to the proposed BeltLine right-of-way. PHCA believes that locating
the trail on the predominantly residential side of the highway is appropriate to take advantage of
the high level of existing residential, both single and multi-family, which will not have access to
the trail if it is located on the northern/industrial side of the highway. The PHCA proposed
location will insure highest use from the outset of construction of the trail such that PHCA would
like to see the BeltLine Trail, and later Transit, options remain adjacent as they come south from
Lindbergh station on Piedmont Road (under I-85) and then turn westerly along Monroe Circle
and Monroe Drive to connect with the BeltLine right-of-way at the northern end of the Ansley
Golf Course. If the City is committed to preserving the industrial uses in the Armour/Ottley area,
it is inappropriate to locate the transit or trail there. Simply stated, put the transit and trails south
of I-85 where people live. Trail access should be available opposite Monroe Place
Apartments on Monroe Drive along with an access point the in vicinity of Wimbledon or Rock
Springs to facilitate access from the core of the neighborhood. On the south on Piedmont Heights
trail access should be available from the Ansely Mall. Proposed Transit locations are discussed
in section 4.3 of this document.

Construction of bike and pedestrian trails in the proposed BeltLine right-of-way from I-85
through the entire Subarea 6 BeltLine right-of-way. The construction will help insure the most
expedient and highest use of the public component of the proposed BeltLine right-of-way, and
help mitigate access issues due to potential development.

Consideration of environmental impacts ought to contain a very specific scope of studies that
identify and measure current baseline conditions for air quality, noise, vibration, hazardous
material location, visual impacts, historic resources, Creek Indian Settlement artifacts and water
resource quality. We would suggest that every development project result in an improvement of
environmental conditions in all of the above categories throughout our entire neighborhood.




Mid-range 10 year implementation



Shuttle operation along the proposed BeltLine right-of-way. PHCA believes that the
implementation of a shuttle in the proposed right-of-way from I-85 to DeKalb Avenue will act as
a mid-range implementable mitigation strategy that allows connection to Piedmont Park, various
neighborhoods and commercial developments along the proposed right-of-way, as well as act as
an integrated demonstration of the viability of transit-based commuting options. PHCA believes
this will bring a public presence to the project that will increase the viability and promote
long-term use of the system as a preferred transportation choice.

Framework planning for Armour/Ottley is critical to the mid-range planning process for this area.
PHCA understands the short-term need to maintain industrial uses in this area, but it also
understands that the long-term benefits of appropriate redevelopment can’t be overlooked.
PHCA proposes a re-evaluation of this entire area in 5 years to evaluate the potential for
implementation of a public framework plan that contemplates this area becoming a viable part of
the city that reinforces the long-term goals of walkability and transit oriented living.



Long-range 10+ year implementation

Construction of BeltLine transit system. PHCA believes that the long-range implementation will
consist primarily of the construction of the appropriate transit system that will further insure the
viable and sustainable nature of a walkable and transit-oriented city.

Transit stop locations should allow Piedmont Heights resides BeltLine access the north, center
and south sections of the neighborhood. A transit station opposite Monroe Place Apartments on
Monroe Drive seems appropriate. There must also be trail access at that point. An additional
station should be located in the vicinity of Wimbledon or Rock Springs to facilitate access from
the core of the neighborhood. This solution would complement the proposed station at Ansley
Mall and negate the need for a station at Montgomery Ferry.

Construction of a multi-modal system in the Armour/Ottley area. PHCA believes that this is the
prime location in this section of the city to plan for and construct a multi-modal station that can
accommodate the BeltLine, Shuttle systems, MARTA, commuter rail and possibly intercity and
interstate rail travel. This area currently either has access to or has easily obtainable access to
each of these systems, whether currently operational or proposed.



Project-specific implementation

PHCA believes that there are a number of elements of the planning process that are critical to the
implementation of the system that are not tied directly to a predetermined phase structure. These
elements should be required to be implemented concurrently with the redevelopment of
large-scale tracts that will have mobility impact on the Piedmont Heights neighborhood and
Subarea 6 in general and must address both internal and external impacts of the development.

Design and construction of appropriate framework elements that increase connectivity to the
greatest extent possible.

Design of appropriate park and green space to mitigate the effects of large-scale redevelopment.
This should be incorporated into the public framework; not remain as privately held ‘greenspace’
that is inaccessible to the public.

Reconfiguration of existing public infrastructure to mitigate the impact of redevelopment; such as
street re-design, addition of traffic signals, reconstruction of sidewalks, etc.
        Creation of new streets and pedestrian connections to mitigate the impact of traffic and to
        increase the walkability of the area as it directly relates to the project areas. Projects should
        strive to create the smallest block unit possible that allows appropriate development.

        Revise the BeltLine Overlay District Review Process to become more interactive, collaborative
        and ultimately sustainable. This revision should result in the definition of a consistent process
        for developing Community Benefits Agreements within the entire Overly District, not just the
        TAD alone, that includes the following:

        Allowance for the neighborhoods and NPU begin review after the City staff has completed the
        initial review of the SAP application.

        Allowance for adequate time for neighborhood and NPU review (45 days or more instead of
        current 21 days).

        A defined a mechanism for compliance monitoring and feedback between the City and the NPU
        throughout the duration of the project development and construction.

Since any strategic plan should be flexible in the presence of change, PHCA reserves the right to revise
our plan upon receipt and analysis of new information or conditions. In order to comply with the
required September 22, 2008 submission date for comments, PHCA completed the current version of this
document without benefit of the density figures used by ABI in Subarea 6 analysis. Upon receipt and
understanding of these figures, PHCA may revise any aspect of this plan and request written confirmation
from ABI that said revisions will be considered in subsequent design documents which are ultimately
produced from the Subarea Master Planning process.

The plan outlined above has been crafted with careful consideration relative to those elements that PHCA
believes are critical to the successful implementation of the BeltLine, such as connectivity, walkability,
transit and traffic. The foundation of this approach is the idea that implementation, if considered on an
incremental basis, will proceed with the greatest benefit and efficiency (both short and long-term), while
causing the least detrimental impact to the area resulting from non-concurrent implementation of the
various elements of the system. PHCA believes this approach is a model that can be used as a
demonstration to other neighborhoods, Subareas and the city in general, that creates a clear strategic plan
for the implementation of complex infrastructural and project-based systems that the public will be
addressing, especially as these issues relate to the creation of a sustainable urban environment that can
operate successfully well into the future. PHCA sees this as a foundation and legacy for future
generations to build upon, continuing to make Piedmont Heights and the city of Atlanta a better place to
live.
DATE \@ "M/d/yyyy" 9/22/2008                                     Page PAGE 1 of NUMPAGES 6
              Piedmont Heights Civic Association - P.O. Box 13355 Atlanta, GA 30324

								
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