Dunwoody’s Design Review Advisory Committee has created an alternative design for the upgrade of Dunwoody Village Parkway, though it is uncertain if city officials will consider it.
The committee is an advisory board to the city. The board studied an alternative design for the parkway that could address some community concerns about the project.
“We volunteered to the mayor to take a look and see if we could come up with some improvements to the city design and also give the city what they asked for,” said Bill Robinson, a member of the committee.
Dunwoody City Council has approved a redesign of the parkway, which runs through the Dunwoody Village shopping center. The plan would take the road from four lanes to two, remove the tree-lined median, and add bicycle lanes, sidewalks, landscaping, lighting and benches. The idea behind the project is to make the road more pedestrian-friendly and lay the groundwork for Dunwoody Village to evolve into a downtown center for the city.
But the plan has stirred opposition from many in Dunwoody, who want to save the median, feel the project is too costly or don’t want to lose two lanes of traffic.
Bill Grant, a member of the Design Review Advisory Committee, presented his alternative plan to the Dunwoody Homeowners Association on Dec. 2. Grant proposed keeping the median, reducing the road to two lanes, and adding sidewalks and bike lanes.
He said his plan would save the trees while providing room for sidewalks. He said the city would have to purchase more right-of-way, but it would save costs by not removing the median.
“It works everywhere,” Grant said. “I really don’t think this plan is going to cost that much more.”
But Mayor Mike Davis said it is unlikely the City Council will reconsider its vote on the parkway design.
“It depends on a few city councilmen who already voted yes on the current design we approved to reopen the discussion and review another element,” Davis said.
“So far, I don’t see anybody wanting to review it any farther than we already have.”
According to council rules, a discussion on a vote that has already been taken can only be reopened by a member of council who voted “yes” on the item.
When the City Council voted on the parkway redesign, they considered several different options, including some that would have kept the median intact. Davis said those plans, which are similar to the one proposed by the Design Review Advisory Committee, did not receive enough votes on the City Council.
“What (the design review committee) liked was a combination of two plans of the four we considered,” Davis said. “What they presented was pretty much a blend of a plan that got two votes and a plan that got zero votes.”
Davis said at this point, it is up to an interested member of City Council to put the alternative design back on the council’s agenda for a discussion.
“I’m waiting to hear if anyone else from City Council wants to bring it up. There’s probably not going to be any appetite to discuss it just to discuss it,” Davis said.
Grant said he believes it’s important for the city to consider some of the concerns that have been expressed by residents.
“I don’t think this is the only idea and I don’t necessarily think it’s the best idea, but it’s an idea that seems to achieve compromises,” Grant said of his design.
Grant said he’s disappointed the city hasn’t shown more of a willingness to consider the alternative design.
“Where we are is really kind of in space right now,” Grant said. “I honestly don’t know what the next steps are.”