The following is an exchange of e-mails between Sandy Springs residents and Sandy Springs City Councilman Tibby DeJulo, after an article appeared in the Sandy Springs Reporter’s Jan. 15-28 edition about a sidewalk to be installed along the access road to Ridgeview Charter Middle School and the possible closing of the road when school is not in session.
Copies of the e-mails were sent to the Sandy Springs Reporter, which reprints them to continue discussion of the issues involving the road. They have been edited for space.
Dear Councilman DeJulio,
I read with dismay this week in the Sandy Springs Reporter that during a meeting regarding the Ridgeview School sidewalk project, a request was made to add gates and to close the access to the road and thus to the entire Trimble Road neighborhood during the hours that the school is closed.
I say “with dismay” because the city of Sandy Springs held a public meeting one year ago, Jan. 29, 2009, at the school to discuss the sidewalk and the deeding of the access road. A number of residents, including me, attended. Several things were clear:
• Names and e-mail contact information of those attending were taken so that everyone could be updated regarding this project and invited to any further meetings. Since the Reporter reported that a meeting was recently held, the city staff did not follow through. That is upsetting.
• There was a consensus that the sidewalk project was a good idea.
• For it to proceed, the city would need to deed the access road to the school system, so that SPLOST funds could be used to fund the sidewalk.
• The neighbors wanted to ensure that if the city deeded the private access road, the school would no block access to it.
• Principal Cox assured us that she had no plans to do this, or to propose this. The city’s representatives told us that they had no such plans, either.
• The contractor for the school renovation and proposed sidewalk stated that when the access road was no longer needed for construction traffic and parking, that it would re-open. In fact, it has.
• Mr. Moore was also to consider re-design of the access road at Baroque Circle near Northland, in order to give the very few Baroque residents a stop sign and give the access road a direct intersect with Northland.
As I have reminded the parties many times, I do not want the institutional memory of the access road history to be lost. The DOT built the road not only for the school, but for the entire Trimble Road neighborhood. This is because the Ga. 400 project sliced Trimble Road in half, closing South Trimble’s access to Glenridge, Roswell Road, etc.
It might be the case that the access road is seeing increased traffic that might be unwanted, but that is a temporary situation due entirely to the Peachtree-Dunwoody Road Nancy Creek Bridge being closed. Many Peachtree-Dunwoody Road drivers have realized that the shortest route to their destination is to use the access road.
Frankly, I consider this a matter of honor. We want the school and Ms. Cox to cease inquiry about closing the access road. The city of Sandy Springs should protect the “handshakes” made with Trimble residents, as far as keeping our access to the road. Certainly, the private access road should not be deeded to the school district unless a permanent deed restriction is attached which prohibits the gating or closure of the road.
I trust that we can put this issue to rest once and for all and drop the gating idea.
For Falcon Chase Homeowners’ Association
The only plans currently on the table is to close the road for two weeks this summer to allow the BOE to build the sidewalk.
Please pass this information on to your neighbors.
Dear Councilman DeJulio,
I am an officer of the Falcon Chase Homeowners Association and would like to bring up an additional concern of many homeowners in our neighborhood regarding the proposed closure of the access road.
If Trimble gets blocked for any reason and that access road is closed, then there is no way for emergency services to get to a rather large neighborhood. I may be more sensitive to this than most because I grew up in a neighborhood in Pasadena, Calif., that has similar characteristics to this one in terms of having only one access road. In one of the major fires that made national headlines, that neighborhood’s main artery got blocked and several people almost lost their lives in a firestorm.
I realize that a fire like those in California is unlikely on Trimble but there are several ways that Trimble could be blocked for a significant amount of time.
In light of the bridge failure on Peachtree-Dunwoody I think the city should be very cognizant that access to areas can be eliminated for large periods of time and that needlessly blocking existing, agreed upon access could have dire implications (and potentially expose the city to lawsuits) in the event of a major medical emergency.