A multi-use path outside of Dunwoody High School is not expected to be installed until the summer of 2023 at the latest. 

Public Works Director Michael Smith first presented a plan for pedestrian and bicycle improvements to a sidewalk along Vermack Road at a Jan. 24 Dunwoody City Council meeting. The sidewalk in question is currently not compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act due to a number of poles located in the middle of the walk way. 

At the January meeting, council members expressed concern over the timeline of the project and asked city staff to consider how much it would cost to replace the parallel parking that exists on the street with slanted parking. At a Feb. 14 meeting, Smith presented cost estimates for three different configurations of the path. 

According to city documents, a 12-foot path that keeps the existing parallel parking would cost about $575,000 while a 12-foot path that included slanted parking would cost about $1,100,000. A standard 5-foot sidewalk that included slanted parking would cost about $825,000. 

Smith said the biggest factor in the cost of including slanted parking is that the city would need to acquire more right of way and temporary construction easements from the DeKalb County School District. 

Councilmember Tom Lambert said he thought the 12-foot pathway with parallel parking was the best option. 

“I think the 12-foot path is the way to go,” Lambert said. “It also being the least expensive option just reaffirms that. I think it’s the right thing to do in front of the school with the volume of pedestrian and perhaps bicycle traffic.” 

At the January meeting, Smith said staff wanted to try and complete the project by this summer. However, Mayor Lynn Deutsch had concerns about the reality of that date of completion when the city would need so much cooperation from the school district. 

“I’m not such an optimist about this project,” she said at the Feb. 14 meeting. “Especially given where we are right now.” 

Smith said the city is now looking at a summer 2023 competition date. 

“We can have the design done fairly quickly, so that’s going to give us probably eight to 10 months to try to get easements from the school system,” he said. “I think if we’re sitting here this time next year and we’re at an impasse, then we can revisit it.”

Previously, an emailed statement from the school district said that officials look forward to discussing the project with the city. A spokesperson said there has been no update at this time. 

Writer and Journalist Sammie Purcell

Sammie Purcell

Sammie Purcell is Associate Editor at Rough Draft Atlanta.