Monday, February 8, 2010

Dunwoody Gets Cobblestone Streets

You may be wondering why, over a year into official citydom, no road work has been done. Not even the former Dark Overlord's works-in-progress have, well, progressed. Turns out, that's because you don't know "work" when you see it.

Refusing an interview, a City "payrollee" described what he called a "radical innovation" in road maintenance gleaned from a peculiar and serendipitous series of events.

Apparently a council-person was reading their grandchild a bedtime story about Ole Virginie, from whence they hail. Skipping the chapter about how the poorest settlers were forced to raise smelly, noisy chickens to survive, this dotty doting grandparent leapt ahead to the "History of Beige". But a sad combination of chocolate and soft drinks held at bay the hypersomnia this story so often induces, forcing the storyteller to advance to a heretofore unread chapter: "Williamsburg and Cobblestones". A riveting tale that inspired that city leader to conclude:
Dunwoody's Williamsburg makeover will not be complete until all our streets are cobbled. 
This city founder, no stranger to politics, knew just who to call upon for guidance: the Mayor of Bug Tussle Alabama, a brother-in-law, former cousin and friend none-the-less.  It was all but certain that Bug Tussle held interesting parallels from which Dunwoody could learn, discovering how to advance it's roadways into the 18th century.

As many already know, Bug Tussle is virtually identical to Dunwoody, only in a different state. And it doesn't have a major retail and business center like Perimeter. And they didn't adopt "beige" as the city color, prefering the weathered, unpainted barn look. And their farmhouses are still on farms. We'll also have to ignore the inconvenient fact that they actually have the iconic southern small city downtown. And then there's that trailer thing they got backwards: none at the schools and some folks actually live in them. Other than that, Bug Tussle and Dunwoody are two peas in a pod.

And as expected, the Mayor of Bug Tussle was well versed in all matters cobble. Their fair city had tried road surfaces of sand (too small to be proper cobble), then gravel (better but not quite there), then, like all too many others, they were seduced by asphalt. While smooth, easily installed and fairly durable, it simply would not maintain itself.

Or so they thought.

By way of significant, unintentional delays in the care and feeding of their asphalt roads (they had to pay for pensions first), Bug Tusslers found that car and truck traffic, in combination with weather, renders asphalt into "chunks". Chunks virtually identical in size and shape to cobblestones. As it happens, neglect is the philosopher's stone of asphalt. Now Bug Tussle has cobblestone streets that are the envy of many--especially the powers that be in Dunwoody.

Clearly the City of Dunwoody, smart folks that they are, intend to emulate the Bug Tussle Miracle. What else can explain the condition of Chamblee Dunwoody in the Village, or Ashford Center Parkway? These roads alone are proof positive that the Dunwoody plan to cobble our streets is well into the execution phase.

"Not so fast!", you think. Certainly this plan is not well received throughout the community. 

Au Contraire, Mon Frère!

After refusing to be quoted, Sue "Green Jean" Steinibel, LEEDer of the local Left Wing Nut Tree Huggers said:
"I'm all for it. It reduces both the number of cars and the speed of those venturing onto these streets."
What about other traffic calming measures?
"Well I can see how some might like that, and I for one am impressed as this is clearly a zero carbon solution, but I've not found Dunwoody that receptive to, shall we say, 'out-there' ideas."
"Anyway, the City's approach has other benefits. It turns an impermeable surface into a virtual drywell. I'd have to say it's the next best thing to no road at all. And if it hadn't been for the county, we'd already have the kind of roads we deserve, the kind of roads our City leaders are finally giving us."
As expected, no one at the Police Department would speak on the record, but someone "in the know" represented the mood of the department with:
"What do we care? We're getting an APC and a SWAT team. And when we get the Narc Squad, we're talking no-knock warrants. We can go wherever the hell we want and do whatever the hell we want."
"And who's gonna stop us? Some pasty faced voter in a Hummer carrying a SEMI-automatic pistol? A couple of three round bursts from our AR-15s and that ``poser'' Hummer is gettin' towed right back to Obama General Motors."
The same general "citizen friendly" attitude prevails at the City's Public Works Department:
"Look, we have pensions to fund and those defined benefits programs cost money. Big money. But I guarantee, if Bug Tussle can pull it off then so can Dunwoody. No way are the folks in Bug Tussle one whit dumber than Dunwoody. After all, there is a reason folks at City Hall call it Dumbwoody. Plus we got the whole Williamsburg-Cobblestone thing going for us."
But what about the fact that the City gets a big chunk of money the County never did and you still canno...
"Can you not hear the words coming out of my mouth? Get with it: pensions first! After that I really don't care because I'm retiring--early, thank you very much--and moving to a gated golf community in Florida where the only driving hazard is on the fairway. And you wanna know how much time I'll be spending worrying about pavement in Dunwoody?"
Well, it could hardly be any less.

So there you have it. It looks as if Dunwoody will leapfrog Bug Tussle on the list of "Places to be From".