Joey Wilkinson examines a proposed plan for the North Buckhead neighborhood during a community meeting at  St. James United Methodist Church.
Joey Wilkinson examines a proposed plan for the North Buckhead neighborhood during a community meeting at
St. James United Methodist Church.

Joey Wilkinson liked much of what he saw when the North Buckhead Civic Association’s consultants unveiled a draft of their proposed plans for his neighborhood’s future transportation, parks and land use.

“There’re definitely some ideas I like,” Wilkinson said, holding a bicycle helmet beneath his arm as he looked over one of the easel-mounted maps shown to association members Dec. 4. “I think it’s ambitious.”

Planners working with the neighborhood group are drafting a proposed community plan for the neighborhood to adopt and then present to city of Atlanta officials in January.

City officials will then look over and solicit comment on the proposals, which are scheduled to go to Atlanta City Council for formal consideration next March, said Caleb Racicot, who works with consultants TSW.

The plan was developed through a series of public meetings and after discussions with neighborhood groups, planners said.

“We have made our best effort to respond to the wide variety of opinions we have heard [about what should be included in the plan],” Racicot told about 40 residents who attended the final plan presentation at St. James United Methodist Church.

The draft proposal called for adding sidewalks, bike lanes and new crosswalks to some streets; developing new trails in the area; encouraging a mix of types of development along Roswell Road; and maintaining the single-family character of the overall neighborhood.

“I like the pedestrian-friendly improvements,” resident Ted Gaillard said. “I’ve got three grandchildren and we walk all over Buckhead.”

Wilkinson endorsed the proposal to bring to Roswell Road differing types of development, such as a mix of housing and shops. “There’s a lot of stuff on Roswell Road that I think gets overlooked because people just zoom by,” he said.

Marc Rioux, who lives near Roswell Road, agreed. And he said he’d like to see projects to improve transportation in the neighborhood. “We live in an upscale neighborhood with very poor roads,” Rioux said.

Not everyone liked everything they saw in the proposal. Mark Wilhelmi worried the planners were trying to preserve too much in some areas, in the face of development pressures. “I feel like we need to spread Buckhead out a little more,” he said.

But Peter Rogers thought the plan didn’t go far enough. “I’d like to see more public transportation included – bus lanes on Piedmont Road and better bus service on Peachtree Road,” he said. “Buses will get you places much faster than taking your car. If you encourage people to get out of their cars, maybe you don’t need so many lanes.”

“Still, I think it’s a good effort,” he said. “There’re a lot of good things here.”

Resident Bob Young also seemed to approve of the proposals. “Most of the things in the plan I will never see,” Young said as he left the gathering. “But we’ve got to look beyond that and do the best we can for the folks who will still be here.”

Consultants working with the North Buckhead Civic Association are proposing new sidewalks, trails, bike paths and other changes in the area.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.

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