Car Clash: Europe vs. the U.S.

Europeans are working hard to discourage drivers, cars and parking in their cities.  Why is American city planning different?

Ellen Dunham-Jones is a professor in the School of Architecture at the Georgia Institute of Technology.  She is a co-author, with June Williamson, of “Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs.”

Which automobile-dependent landscapes in the U.S. are the most forsaken? Where would the pedestrian-oriented European strategies seem most out of place and yet potentially have the greatest impact on increasing affordability, health and livability while reducing greenhouse gases and re-using existing infrastructure? Commercial strip corridors.

Top of the list of unloved, underperforming and ubiquitous places, they were engineered for the single purpose of swiftly moving cars. But overzoned for commercial uses, they are now clogged with cars on both local and through trips. They provide access to cheaper land and “drive till you qualify” affordable housing – but then eat up the savings as transportation costs have risen to 20 to 40 percent of household budgets. They are aging with little prospect of funding for maintenance. And their high vacancy rates just add to the dispiritedness of a failed public realm.

Can they be retrofitted into attractive, transit boulevards lined with trees, sidewalks and affordable housing and anchored by mixed-use centers with a public life to be proud of? June Williamson and I are tracking over 35 North American corridors that are being redesigned not to make driving miserable, but to recognize the multiple social, environmental, economic and transportation purposes that great streets serve. Their integration was highlighted in the grassroots-led temporary re-striping of Ross Avenue as “Ross Ramblas” in Dallas this week at Build a Better Boulevard. Participants employed several techniques of Tactical Urbanism, including pop-up shops, chairbombing and dumpster pools.

Every U.S. city once had street cars. Will Americans ever again support public investment in mass transit?

More typical is the ongoing 10-year revitalization of a five-mile stretch of Columbia Pike in Arlington County, Va. It exemplifies the intelligent use of tight form-based codes to grow from one-story strip buildings in parking lots to mid-rise mixed-use buildings fronting tree-lined sidewalks at nodes on major intersections. The site-specific code quickly tapers heights where the new development faces the existing neighborhoods and new bike lanes on the less busy streets. This strategy retains the existing affordable housing in between the nodes while the tax revenue from the new density goes toward supporting a streetcar.

Cambie Corridor in Vancouver is employing similar techniques but has upped the ante with some stunning modern mixed-use buildings and a highly efficient district energy system that balances out daytime commercial energy demands with the residential night-time peak loads.

Aiding these efforts is the new street design manual for walkable urban thoroughfares. It is the first officially recommended practice that does not refer to sidewalks as “vehicle recovery zones”! El Paso recently adopted the manual to connect its implementation of Bus Rapid Transit with redevelopment of outdated properties along five major corridors. Imagine if all 50 DOTs followed suit and revised their Level of Service Standards accordingly! We might see more transformations of urban highways to boulevards and Complete Streets.

Funding remains an obstacle and demand for Sustainable Communities Partnership federal planning grants far outstrips supply. Can private real estate developers fund streetcars as they did early in the 20th century? Can the public again support public sector investments in infrastructure, as it did mid-century? How else can we provide an alternative to our broken system of “drive till you qualify” affordable housing, accommodate changing demographics and markets and make our least sustainable landscapes into places worth caring more about?

Yae Nakato, 96: Co-founded Atlanta’s Nakato Japanese Restaurant

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

7:06 p.m. Monday, June 6, 2011

Yae Nakato, 96, helped start the Nakato Japanese restaurant on Cheshire Bridge Road

In 1974, Yae Nakato left her native Japan to help run a family startup in Atlanta. Her sister, the late Tetsuko Nakato, had opened the Nakato Japanese Restaurant and needed her younger sister’s assistance.

Today, there are a total of five Nakato restaurants with two in Charlotte, and one each in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Springfield, Mo. All offer a hibachi grill as well as traditional Japanese dishes, some of which reflect Mrs. Nakato’s worldly culinary influences that she perfected at the first location at 1776 Cheshire Bridge Road.

“Her sister called to help with a family venture, and now all the restaurants are owned by family, cousins and uncles,” said Sachiyo Nakato Takahara, a relative who co-manages the Atlanta location. “We celebrate 40 years in Atlanta next year. We are a third-generation restaurant, and we are grooming a fourth generation.”

Yae Nakato of Marietta had contracted fluid in her lungs and died Saturday from its complications at Piedmont Hospital. She was 96. The funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at the Happy Science Temple in Atlanta. H.M. Patterson & Son, Spring Hill Chapel, is in charge of arrangements.

Mrs. Nakato was the youngest of seven siblings, children of parents who owned a lumber company that was based in Manchuria, China, and conducted business throughout Asia. After World War II, her parents lost the business and were forced to return to Japan, their homeland.

“She lived all over Asia when she was younger, so it influenced her cooking,” Takahara said. “Her ingredients were amazing, and she always cooked for everybody else who worked in the restaurant, and she did it well. She was the behind-the-scenes person who took care of employees and the family.”

In her younger years, Mrs. Nakato immersed herself in track and field sports and participated as a sprinter in Korean national events. Coaches and teammates nicknamed her  “Tsubame,” which means sparrow in Japanese.

Mrs. Nakato and Takao Nakato, her late husband of more than 30 years, never had any children but helped raise several. She never learned to speak English.

“She had her green card, and she took pride in the United States,” Takahara said. “She was very low-key but stern and was very dedicated to the company.”

Additional survivors include nieces and nephews.

New Construction Underway at The Park at LaVista Walk

The Providence Group’s newest community, The Park at LaVista Walk  is now underway with 20 new townhomes currently under construction. The Park at LaVista Walk is a new upscale townhome community priced from the mid $200s located at the intersection of LaVista and Cheshire Bridge Roads. The community features a variety of three story, brick townhomes with two bedrooms and up to three and one half baths. Each home design offers a basement flex space ideal for a home office, exercise room or bonus room. The community offers convenient access to I-85, shopping, entertainment and a variety of restaurants.  The community is a short drive to Lenox Mall, Phipps Plaza, and everything that Buckhead and downtown Atlanta has to offer. Homeowners can also choose to walk to the many conveniences within the community which features an internet cyber cafe and coffee bar, two private pools, state of the art fitness center, plus a shopping plaza across from the community.

The Park at LaVista Walk Pool The Park at LaVista Walk offers extensive amenities including two private pools and state of the art fitness center.

The Providence Group is offering $7,500 in options to the first homebuyers at The Park at LaVista Walk. Interested homebuyers can register on The Providence Group website or contact the onsite agent directly at 770- 480-9993.

Board of Directors Class of 2012

We are excited to introduce to you the nominees for the Board of Directors Class of 2012. With your approval at our Annual Meeting on 11 November, these talented individuals will join the Class of 2011 (Henry Batten, Amanda Leech, Curry Roberts, Yuki Takahara) in leading LLCC in the coming year.

Courtney Harkness

A vice president in the Atlanta office of Edelman, the world’s largest public relations firm, Courtney develops and manages execution of comprehensive public engagement and marketing communications programs for large corporate clients, including ongoing corporate brand work and new product launches, and oversees the day-to-day operations of Edelman Southeast’s technology practice group.

Courtney’s experience includes strategic execution of public relations initiatives, direct consumer and business-to-business marketing, sales support and proposal development efforts, trade show and event management, and corporate internal and external communications.

Prior to joining Edelman in 2007, Courtney managed the Impact Marketing program for financial institution clients at CheckFree Corporation. (now Fiserv), where she was responsible for developing and executing consumer direct marketing campaigns.  Previously, Courtney served as marketing communications manager with NCR Corporation. and account executive on the BellSouth International account at Ketchum. She began her career as a press coordinator in the office of Georgia Governor Zell Miller.

Fluent in Spanish, Courtney holds both a B.S. in International Affairs and an M.B.A. from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She lives in Morningside with her husband and two children.

Harriet Hoskyns-Abrahall

Harriet is the Senior Business Development Manager for Public Broadcasting Atlanta, the local affiliate of National Public Radio and PBS, whose studios are in the immediate area, just off Cheshire Bridge Road.

Her previous experience has included teaching and research at the Department of Business Studies at the University of Edinburgh, legal practice in the Bahamas, positions with Shell Oil in HR and Finance, with Arthur Andersen in Market Research and international service on three continents with the YMCA. Her Swim School on Grand Bahama continues its work today. She is the Past President of the British American Chamber of Commerce and serves on the Board of the Georgia Friends of the University of Edinburgh, when she earned her degree in Law. Her hobbies include various sports, the performing arts,and her 1938 MG.

Harriet has served two previous terms on our Board of Directors, coordinating our Pedestrian Concerns Committee. She lives in the Lindridge Martin Manor neighborhood.

Dorean Neville

Dorean is Vice President & Branch Manager for Regions Bank – Cheshire Bridge Road Branch. She and her staff have been very active in the community for the last several years, participating as a sponsor in the Taste & Tour of Cheshire Bridge, and leading a Financial Literacy Program for the parents of children at the Easter Seals Early Learning Center on Sheridan Road.

She and her husband live in Fairburn.

Jason Stephenson

For the last eight years, Jason Stephenson has been on the staff of Westminster Church located in LaVista Park. He works with the church’s middle and high school students as Director of Youth Ministries, after previously serving as the Executive Director of Camp Westminster in Conyers.

Jason graduated from Belhaven College in Jackson, MS with a degree in Business Administration, spent his childhood in East Tennessee and Mississippi, and remains very close to his four siblings. He’s a huge sports fan, enjoys teaching and outdoor activities.

Jason has served as Treasurer for LLCC for the past two years.

Rosalie Townsend

Rosalie Townsend works for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta on the Scottish Rite campus as a pediatric rehabilitation nurse. She is currently coordinating the Hispanic ESL classes that will begin in January 2011, and is excited to have the opportunity to volunteer and help the LLCC community reach its full potential.

Rosalie and her family live in Tucker, and have been members of Westminster Presbyterian Church for many years.

The Reserve at LaVista Walk is sold to REIT

Behringer Harvard acquires ATL apartments
from the Atlanta Business Chronicle

Behringer Harvard bought Buckhead apartment community The Reserve at LaVista Walk from Atlantic Realty Partners.

The Reserve at LaVista Walk

The Dallas-based company did not report financial terms.

The 283-unit, 4.4-acre development was finished in 2008 and is two miles southeast of Lenox Square Mall.

Behringer Harvard Multifamily REIT I Inc. includes investments in 31 multifamily communities in 12 states with a total of 8,732 apartment units

Read more: Behringer Harvard acquires ATL apartments – Atlanta Business Chronicle

5% Day at Whole Foods Market Briarcliff


Shop for a cause at Whole Foods Market Briarcliff! On Wednesday, June 30, Whole Foods Market will donate 5% of their net sales to the Lindbergh LaVista Corridor Coalition. Funds will be used for the continual development of the Confluence Trail system along the North and South forks of Peachtree Creek. Stop by the Briarcliff location to show your support and help raise important funds for the LLCC!

Plan 2040 Neighborhood Forums: Steering transportation in the right direction

Now that we FINALLY have a plan for funding regional transportation improvements, how should we spend our money? More transit? More HOV lanes? Sidewalks? You tell us: Please join The Civic League for the first of four Neighborhood Forums on Plan 2040 on Thurs., June 10 from 6:45 to 9:00 p.m. in the Community Room at the Cobb Chamber of Commerce (240 Interstate North Parkway, Atlanta GA 30339).

Developed and administered by the Atlanta Regional Commission, PLAN 2040 is metro Atlanta’s evolving plan to accommodate economic and population growth sustainably over the next 30 years. In developing Plan 2040, we have an opportunity for assessment, evaluation and possibly redirection as we develop regional policies and actions that direct resources for transportation investments and provide assistance to local governments. Citizen input and feedback is essential to creating a plan that accurately reflects and effectively addresses the region’s needs.

As always, Civic League Neighborhood Forums are open to all, but registration is requested to ensure that we have adequate seating and materials. The remaining three 2040 Forums will be held in July in Henry County, September in the City of Atlanta and November in Gwinnett County; dates and locations to be announced.

Lindbergh LaVista Corridor Coalition Inc. Receives a 2009 Constant Contact All-Star Award

Constant Contact recognizes the Lindbergh LaVista Corridor Coalition for commitment to best practices in email marketing

ATLANTA, GA — 19 April 2010 – The Lindbergh LaVista Corridor Coalition, today announced that it has received a 2009 All-Star Award from Constant Contact®, Inc., a leading provider of email marketing, event marketing, and online survey tools for small organizations. The Lindbergh LaVista Corridor Coalition was selected for meeting Constant Contact’s best-practice standards for the use of Email Marketing throughout 2009.

The Lindbergh LaVista Corridor Coalition received a 2009 Constant Contact All-Star Award for demonstrating best practices in the effective use of Constant Contact Email Marketing in the following areas:

  • Frequency of campaigns
  • Open rates
  • Bounce rates
  • Click through rates

“Our customers work hard to build strong relationships with their customers through email marketing and some, such as the Lindbergh LaVista Corridor Coalition , truly excel in this effort,” said Gail Goodman, CEO, Constant Contact. “We created our All-Star Awards to highlight those customers who are passionately committed to following our best practices as they work to improve their customer communications. We’re proud of the role we play in helping the Lindbergh LaVista Corridor Coalition be successful and we look forward to continuing to assist the coalition with its marketing efforts.”

Cub Scouts help clean up creek

Rich Sussman
Rich Sussman, LLCC Environment Coordinator
from Rich Sussman

March 20, more than 35 Cub Scouts and parents from packs in Garden Hills and Toco Hills attacked the exotic plants and picked up trash on the Meadow Loop Trail along the North Fork of Peachtree Creek. This was the second time the scouts helped clean up the trail. Thanks to them and many neighbors, you can now walk the entire loop starting from the two exposed manholes to the overpass and then back along the stream to Lindbergh. Lots of that nasty kudzu, privet, multiflora roses and honeysuckle have been cut down, pulled up, and eliminated from the meadow. During the two workdays, nearly 20 bags of trash were collected along with tires, chairs, mattresses and a steel ammo box. As soon as Georgia DOT gives its permission, we will erect a sign heralding the trail as part of a longer trail system along the North and South Forks of Peachtree Creek. As the weather is finally brightening and getting warmer, please take the opportunity to stroll the trail – and feel free to pick up some trash during your walk!

See our website ( to view more photos from this event.

Welcome, new Board Member: Yuki Takahara

Yuki Takahara
Yuki Takahara
Yuki Takahara is Assistant Manager of Nakato Japanese Restaurant. She also coordinates the Taste & Tour of Cheshire Bridge and organized the Cheshire Bridge Business Association (CBBA). Yuki graduated from UGA with a BA in Finance in 2006 and worked at an LA-based private equity fund and a software firm before returning to Atlanta in 2008 to manage the restaurant, her family’s business for three generations.