Saturday, January 7, 2012

Two Lane or Not Two Lane

That is the dilemma.

As hard as it is to believe, there is quite a debate over the configuration of Dunwoody Parkway, centering on the lanes. For those who are not familiar with Dunwoody Parkway, it is the neglected stretch of pavement between Mt. Vernon and Chamblee Dunwoody circling behind Dunwoody Village. If you know where the "Bankwoody" Post Office is located, you know Dunwoody Parkway.

To be clear, it isn't actually a parkway, it is a boulevard, which means it has two lanes each way, a center median and enough vegetation to impeded one's view. At twenty five mph it also has one of the lowest speed limits in Dunwoody outside of All Saints. Of course it is located outside of the Perimeter Center area so there is absolutely no enforcement and speeds in excess of forty mph are not uncommon. Really. Between the length, the dead ends and the speed, it is more a dragstrip than anything else.

And the great divide is literally and figuratively over the median.

One camp wishes to convert Dunwoody Parkway to a street, one lane each way, ditch the median but keep the turn lanes at each light. The space freed by the lane and median removal is to be used for wide sidewalks and bike lanes in the hopes this reduces pedestrian jostling,  the current bike congestion and eliminates the associated injuries. This  camp is the old-guard Dunwoody Cabal and has enjoyed overbearing influence over city operations including so-called long range planning. In fact, the parkway plan has been championed by our outgoing mayor for years, even before the city became yet another albatross around the voters collective neck. And of course there is grant money involved and is there anything we wouldn't do to get our hands on other people's money?

The other camp wants each and every scraggly crepe myrtle in that median, and the median itself preserved for our children's children. And beyond. Further, and this is probably the real issue, they want to maintain the current status of "high speed cut through". Seriously. You cannot make this up. They want to ensure they have a four lane, high speed, half mile cut-thru so they don't get annoyed by going all they way to Mount Vernon and Chamblee Dunwoody. Of course, they're not against bike lanes or sidewalks, just don't take away their car lanes. And it isn't like they intend to stop and shop, or hell, even go the speed limit. Nope. They just want to get somewhere else.

So how about this: suppose we four-lane Mount Vernon from the village to the Dunwoody Club split? Now that would do something for congestion in the area. It certainly would stir more fervent and interesting debate.

At the end of the day, the only thing sillier that keeping Dunwoody Parkway four lanes is spending about $1,500,000.00 on a patch of land so some day we can spend even more to give a(nother) councilman a better commute. Can you guess what this city is going to do?