Posts filed under ‘Transportation’

LaVista/Briarcliff Intersection Improvements

Barbara_WheelerBelow is a report from our DeKalb Transportation Coordinator, Barbara Wheeler, following her conversation with Dave Pelton, Supervising Engineer at DeKalb County Transportation.

The current proposal for Briarcliff and LaVista is at a standstill, the county is working on a concept to improve the intersection, but there are some objections by the commissioners to making the intersection any bigger.

Among the constraints, the church on the corner, Peachtree Baptist Church, is historic and cannot be altered, and the Whole Foods retaining wall is also immovable.

The commissioners inquired if the intersection could be converted to a roundabout, but the available space is not adequate for a large roundabout.

GDOT has set aside some money to improve the intersection, but the commissioners are not supportive of this current concept, so it is not moving forward.

The county would welcome any creative ideas for improvements that make the intersection flow better AND be more pedestrian friendly which Mr. Pelton believes is the commissioners’ point of view (hence the roundabout idea).

Click HERE to see the current concept drawing.

March 25, 2014 at 6:42 pm 1 comment

What’s Up With Trail Under SR-400 & I-85

Love the Bright Orange Road Construction Barrels? You’re in Luck!

February’s weather cost the Georgia DOT contractor two weeks of work on flyover ramps linking Interstate 85  to SR-400. Traffic on Cheshire Bridge Road and Lindbergh Drive will keep dodging construction barrels at least until April.

Loren Bartlett, DOT project manager, says the project continues to move as fast as possible because of financial penalties in the state contract with Archer Western.

“The contract calls for $1869 daily penalties,” she says, noting it was to be complete by January 14, 2014.

What about the two weeks when ice and snow kept Atlanta immobile?

 

The Department will consider inclement weather as
reason to be exempt from daily fines.  The project construction budget is at $21 million. (AW’s contract is $21,423,500 for better accuracy.)

The nature trail along the creek is coming into clearer view as the ramps above are connected. By March 1 contractors laid beds of large stone along the creek, topping it with smaller gravel and compacting them into a smooth trail. The largest bridge across the main span of the North Fork is in place.  Several smaller culverts across feeder creeks will be part of the trail. At least one is poured on site, and others are expected in early March.  Decorative fences and approaches leading to the main bridge are likely to be among the last elements to be built.

Sally Sears 

Executive Director, The South Fork Conservancy

March 3, 2014 at 3:05 pm Leave a comment

On Our Form of Government

Jeff Rader, DeKalb County District 2 Commissioner

With the indictment of Burrell Ellis, new calls have come for a shift to
a Commission/Manager form of government in DeKalb County.  As with the CEO
form, there is no standard structure in Georgia enabling legislation, so the
“devil is in the details” on exactly what this means.  To make a
judgement, it is important to look at all the mechanics of the “Organizational
Act” or Charter, identifying deficiencies and options for improvement.
Neither form is invulnerable to manipulation by elected or appointed officials,
so the real test is what’s in a Charter that informs the public on government
operations and makes it accountable to voters and taxpayers.

Governmental operations are complex, and they can affect your freedom, property
and welfare.  Therefore you should be able to know in advance how you will
be treated by government, and be treated the same as others.
Unfortunately, many governmental processes are not formalized, and are subject
to the whims of individuals.  The most egregious example of this is the
alleged manipulation of purchasing procedures for political gain, but it can
happen in the award of permits, employment, and the enforcement of laws and
regulations.  DeKalb County needs an Administrative Procedures mandate
that will require County departments to formalize and document how they conduct
business and implement laws, and to adhere to those procedures.  The
Charter restriction against adopting a purchasing code should be removed.

Elected and appointed officials are fond of touting their accomplishments, and
as in Lake Woebegon, everyone seems to see their accomplishments as above
average.  What’s lacking is an objective third party with the skills and
resources to systematically evaluate DeKalb operations against best practices and
makes a public report of findings and recommendations for
improvement.   Surprisingly, the current Charter provides that option
in the form of an Internal Auditor, but the Board of Commissioners has never
filled the position or funded operations.  DeKalb County needs an
independent and mandatory Internal Auditor with a guaranteed budget.

Likewise, the ethical conduct of elected office is the foundation of
governmental legitimacy.  DeKalb County has a state-mandated Board of
Ethics, but it has been neglected and underfunded by the County
government.  DeKalb’s Ethics Board should be strengthened by shifting the
power of appointment away from the officials who the Ethics Board oversees, and
by giving the Ethics Board a guaranteed budget equal to at least twenty-five
cents for each of DeKalb’s 700,000 persons. A quarter per capita is a small
price to pay for an effective ethics watchdog.

County governments are too small and too important to operate on a partisan
basis.  Partisan alignment disenfranchises large minorities in
jurisdictions where elections are determined in the primary.  The election
of all County offices should be non-partisan.

Commission district boundaries, like those of the General Assembly and Congress
are the object of increasingly effective gerrymandering.  As in these
other bodies, the result is entrenched incumbency, political polarization and a
general disaffection with government as representative of the common
interest.  DeKalb should have an objective redistricting protocol that creates
compact districts with common communities of interest.

As mentioned at the start, the details of an improved Charter are important and
complex.   In many other states (and increasingly in new DeKalb
cities) charter review is accomplished by a “Charter Commission”, an
independent group of leading citizens with expert staff, but in Georgia, such
changes are often accomplished by local legislative delegations in the course
of the 40-day legislative session.  The DeKalb delegation should empanel and
fund (using County tax dollars) a Charter Commission to work for a year to
draft a revised DeKalb County Organizational Act for legislative approval in
2015.

All these suggestions, and not a word about CEO vs. Commission/Manager!
That’s because the improvement of government is not so much about how
politicians divide power between themselves, but is instead about how
accountable those politicians are to the public that elects them.  If
voters don’t insist that accountability be strengthened, the CEO/Commission
Manager debate won’t matter much at all.

December 21, 2013 at 5:02 pm Leave a comment


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