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Entries in canton st (8)


East West Alley Master Plan - Info Sessions..

If you are interested in what is going on with the East West Alley Master Plan, there are some meetings coming up later this month and later this summer that you will want to try to attend.  The Schedule is posted at the end of this post.  The first of the meetings will be next Wednesday at City Hall Room 220 at 5pm.  I'm really interested in seeing what concepts will be discussed.  Personally, I hope they look at making the alleys intos woonerfs (shared space where pedestrians and bicyclists have priority).  Additionally, we should look at paving them in brick from building face to building face.  This would add character and further enhance the pedestrian focus.

Here are a few imags from Jen Kempson's Integrated Alley Handbook that focuses on converting alleys in Seattle into actual livable places that add value to the city.  We could take a page from these concepts..



Meetings regarding Concept Plans
July 9, 2014 at 5:00p.m., City Hall, Room 220: Public Open House to present and discuss concept plans
July 9, 2014 at 7:00p.m., City Hall, Council Chambers: HPC Hearing - Discussion of Concept Plans with HPC
July 14, 2014 at 5:30 p.m., City Hall, Room 220: Work Session with Mayor and City Council to present and discuss concept plans
Meetings regarding Draft Master Plan
August 13, 2014 at 6:00p.m., City Hall, Council Chambers: HPC Hearing – Discussion of Draft Master Plan with HPC
August 19th, 2014 at 6:00p.m., City Hall, Room 220: Public Open House to present Draft Master Plan

August 25, 2014 at 5:30 p.m., City Hall, Room 220: Work Session with Mayor and City Council to review and discuss Master Plan

September 10, 2014 at 7:00 p.m., City Hall, Council Chambers: Present Master Plan for Adoption at Mayor and City Council Meeting




Even More Infill Development on Canton St?

Wow.. It's been busy around here lately especially in the historic district!  This week, I've posted on potential develipment at Providence, Canton Street Walk and at Woodstock Rd/Canton St.  But, I have yet another project to put out there.. 

This one is a fairly small infll of four townhomes at 1075 Canton St.  The townhomes would replace the old blacksmith shed that is located at the rear of the property behind the house that fronts Canton St.  The site plan was approved with conditions (unsure of those details) at the 9/10 Design Reveiw Board meeting.  Here's are a couple images to help you get your bearings.

I'm a big fan of this type of development.  Taking existing parcels in walkable areas and adding quality development without taking away from the historical quality of the street.  I'm just hoping the architecture is high quality.  I have no doubt that these will be pricey but the new residents will have easy access to the Fickle Pickle and Swallow at the Hollow which will help take the bite out of the price.


Stop the Madness: Two Unnecessary Signs

This one is driving me nuts.  Last year, the one way on Plum Street was reversed so that traffic could more easily flow off of Canton St.  That made sense to me.  But these signs don't.  First up, why do you need a one way sign where traffic enters a one way street?  There should be a one way sign at the end where cars exit to alert drivers that you can't turn into that street but putting one where you enter is just adding to the littany of signs cluttering our landscape. Hmmm...  So, the one way sign in this picture is completely unnecessary.  

Second, why in the world would you need a Do Not Enter sign here?  IF, in the off event a car did make it's way to that spot by going the wrong way down Plum St, they certainly SHOULD enter Canton St to get off of Plum St.  If there is an appropriate place for a Do Not Enter sign on a one way street, it would be at the point of entry,  not at the point of exit.  But, there would be no reason for a DNE sign at the entrance if there is already a one way street sign.  That would be redundant... but as we all know... there is no shortage of redundant signs on our roads.

Take these two signs down.  They are completly unnecessary.  


Stop the Madness: Anxiously Awating...

I'm excited to announce that we soon be unveiling a brand new road sign at the Canton Street, Magnolia, Atlanta Street intersection.  I can't imagine one additional sign that is necessary at this intersection.  However,  the ceremonial removal of that black garbage bag will undoubtedly usher in a new era of safety at this intersection.  As an aside.. do we really need two sign posts here for GA 9 North and GA 120 East?  Stop the insanity.. seriously!




City Hall Square Concept Gaining Traction in Roswell

This eveining at City Hall, Roswell City Council and the public had the chance to see an evolutionary proposal for what the heart of our city could be.  City staff and the Downtown Development Agency presented and opined (in that order) on a transportation and economic development (in that order) project that will impact the heart of our city.  There were about 30 citizens and stakeholders present to see the concepts that were sparked from (but wildly different than) the DPZ master plan concept.

The configurations that were presented (all slight variations from the image above) are significantly different from a traffic flow standpoint than what Andres Duany and DPZ proposed for the area but DOT couldn't make the DPZ proposal work with traffic models.  The good thing is that DOT has a CNU accredited staffer in Clyde Stricklin who worked on the post-street design configuration.  It heps to have someone who at least speaks the language of urbanism to refine design around big roads.  

Pretty much everyone in the room was in favor of moving forward, albeit cautiously, with planning this project.  The mayor requested that staff and the DDA work together to try and refine the design details and potential economic impact before going external to hire a town planner.  I agree with the approach but feel this is a very delicate project.  If it is done incorrectly, it could be disasterous for the heart of Roswell.  If it is done correctly it could be huge.

The estimated costs are $8-$11M for the roadway and park features.  Buildings, etc. would be a separate tab with a mixture of public and private uses.

What are your thoughts?


NUR Weekly - TSPLOST, Parking, Restaurants, Blocks & Mixed-Use

I keep coming up with good ideas for this weekly digest so I had to add a section.  The last part is dedicated to fun stuff and may or may not relate to what we discuss on the NUR blog.  This week, Joan Durbin at the North Fulton Neighbor was on fire with several notable stories.

What’s Up in Roswell

Holcomb Bridge/GA 400 Improvements Tied to TSPLOST - North Fulton Neighbor

Here’s the gist from city council woman Betty Price:

Whether or not T-SPLOST passes, some interim improvements will be evident in the near future. With additional funding and guided by the recommendations of this study, whole-scale improvements can be made in the future that will revitalize this inadequate intersection, bringing with it a welcoming and functional entrance to Roswell from 400.  

Pay Parking May Come to Roswell Historic District - North Fulton Neighbor

My prediction...  People are going to hate this more than they hate looking for a space.  If you’re willing to walk 200 yards, there is NO parking problem.  Key Excerpt:

The locations are the lot next to Wells Fargo on the west side of Canton Street and a lot on the east side between Ga. Hwy 9 and Canton Street that used to be the old city fire department years ago. 

Roswell’s Red Light Cameras May be Relocated - North Fulton Neighbor

This is fairly controversial to some.  Here’s my 2 cents.  These cameras tend to reduce deadly ‘perpendicular’ or ’T-Bone’ crashes at intersections but increase rear-end collisions.  Generally, anything that causes people to pay more attention

Four Canton St Restaurants on Jezebel Magazine’s Top 100 Restaurants for 2012

This is a great sign that Canton Street is doing all the right things.  Little Alley Steak, Inc Street Food, Salt Factory and Table & Main made the list in that order.  You’ll have to check out the magazine to see where they weighed in.

4th Annual Trilogy Trolley Crawl Tix on Sale


Top 5 Articles of the Week

What is a Block? - Better Cities and Towns

The block is something that confuses most people.  This article takes a stab at defining it and does a pretty good job.  Here’s how they define one:

the definition of a block should be based on the legal structure of urbanism. Therefore, a block is legally defined as private property surrounded by public rights-of-way. By this definition, a block is one of the two fundamental units of urbanism (alongside the right-of-way) reflecting the two types of property (private and public, respectively).

The article also uses an example from up the road in Alpharetta to illustrate the absurdities of suburban ‘blocks.’  They managed to find one has a perimeter of 12 miles!  We need more connectivity and smaller blocks. 

Don’t get Mixed Up on Mixed-Use - PlaceShakers

Mixed-use is one of those terms like sustainability.  It is over used and often used out of context.  This article lays it out pretty well:

Today, the most common misunderstanding I find about mixed-use is that most people think it equates, on any street or in any context, to a shopfront with housing above.

In short, mixed-use makes for three-dimensional, pedestrian-oriented places that layer compatible land uses, public amenities, and utilities together at various scales and intensities. This variety of uses allows for people to live, work, play and shop in one place, which then becomes a destination for people from other neighborhoods. As defined by The Lexicon of the New Urbanism, mixed-use is multiple functions within the same building or the same general area through superimposition or within the same area through adjacency… from which many of the benefits are… pedestrian activity and traffic capture.

How to Get a Trader Joe’s - Smyrna is signing a petition - Smyrna Patch 

I’d love it if it were just this easy to get a grocery store where you want it.  I’m sure we could collect a lot of signatures to get one here in Historic Roswell.  This commenter said it best:

Ultimately Smyrna has to prove we have the demographics to ensure Trader Joe's can survive. It's not about where we want it and why. Will Trader Joe's consider Smyrna and why?

Cops Set Up Sting to Keep Pedestrians Safe - AJC

Read this article, you just might learn something that will keep you out of trouble when walking or driving.  Here’s a stat that I wanted to be sure got out there.

...four people are hit by cars each day in the metro Atlanta area. (Sally) Flocks said between 70 and 80 pedestrians are killed each year in the metro area and more than 20 percent within 100 feet of a transit stop.

Alpharetta Downtown Development Picks Up Speed - ABC

Keep moving forward Alpharetta!  This will be a big boost to walkability in North Fulton.  I thought this excerpt was noteworthy:

In the past decade, other suburban cities including Woodstock, Norcross and Suwanee have tried to reinvent their downtowns by launching major projects.  Those ideas reflect principles of New Urbanism, a countermovement to the development patterns in the 80s and 90s across metro Atlanta that to suburban sprawl. New Urbanism aims to create public spaces, such as a city center, where people can congregate in parks that are near shopping, restaurants and entertainment.

Unfortunately, Roswell didn’t get a mention in the article but we are doing great things and our historic district has arguably been more successful than any of the towns that were mentioned even though they pursued very high profile projects.

Fun Stuff

Church vs Beer Map - Guess Where Georgia Is

Beijing’s Olympic Ruins - Much worse than Atlanta’s Ruins

Top 10 Best & Worst Cities to Live - This ranking used a very interesting methodology.  Number one on the list, Hong Kong.  Last on the list, Tehran.  Best US City, Washington DC.  

What the World Would Look Like Covered in Lego - Simple and Fun.. I’d love to drive under this bridge..


Neighborhood Centers - DPZ Special Projects

The next piece of the DPZ presentation is a high level overview of the three neighborhood centers they have taken on as special projects. There are three different recommendations for each of these unique areas and each of them is revolutionary for Roswell in its own right. They took a look at a new town square centered just south of Canton Street, a New Canton Street concept in the mill village that would run from Oxbo to Mill St and finally the southern village which centers on the South Atlanta St Baptist Church.

Take a look at the slideshow with commentary from me. You can use the controls on the presentation viewer to move through the slides or just let it switch through automatically. I would suggest you enlarge this one to full screen as the images are detailed. Again, any writing on these was added by me and is not part of the original DPZ presentation. Our next posts will examine each of these three areas in more detail.

All images provided courtesy of Duany Plater-Zyberk


Where to Park on Canton Street?

I recently read this article on The Roswell Neighbor discussing the availability of parking on Canton Street and potential solutions to the issue.  I know this is a hot topic for many especially since the restaurant scene has exploded here over the past ~5 years.  I think the common complaint is that it takes too long to park and thus we need more parking.  However, let's not over react.  

I go to Canton Street (by car) almost weekly to eat and the longest it has ever taken me to park at peak time is about 10 minutes.  When I do get a spot, it's usually within 50 yards of the main restaurant area. Anywhere else on Canton is a breeze to park.  There are 1,847 parking spots between Magnolia St and Woodstock St and a recent study suggest that the area is 69 spaces short during peak times.  

A normal parking space is about 180 sq ft (10x18).  So, 69 spaces is 12,420 sq ft. or ~.285 acres.  When you add in driving space, that effectively doubles.  So, just to meet the current peak demand, Canton St would need to figure out where a half an acre could be paved to park some cars.  I'm not so sure that we need to do this given the demand but I wanted to think about what we could do to prepare for added demand if that does come.

Here are my recommendations in order of cost from the least to the most expensive:


  • Do nothing - The current situation isn't actually as bad as it seems.  There are plenty of spaces within a short walk along Mimosa, at City Hall and across 9 from Diesel.  Proper direction and labeling could help.  There is also some opportunity for lot reconfiguration and multi-use lots in areas.
  • Create a Parking Lot - I don't have any ideas on where to do this since we won't be able to find a half/acre unless we tear down a building or two.  If we do that, then we might as well do it right.. see the last two entries.
  • Deck Behind Restaurants - Here, we would just build a deck where a current parking area is.  See the red shaded area on the map.
  • Surface Lot Behind Buildings - This one is actually my favorite as it will do a lot to complete Canton Street and give additional parking.  You tear down the old antique store and move a 2-3 story building up to Canton Street and line the north side of Webb Street with either shop fronts or townhomes.  Behind the buildings invisible to Canton Street, you would have a surface parking lot that is larger than what is existing. If demand grew, you could eventually build a deck here.
  • Deck Behind Townhomes - Here we would line the southern tip of Canton St, the northern side of Magnolia and the southeastern tip of the Webb Street Extension with townhomes or live work units with some retail below.  The corner of Canton & Magnolia would be a small office or bank building.


Here's the visual:


Now, let's not forget the age old problem of charging for parking.  If the need to charge arises and you have built an expensive deck, the logical course of action would be to charge for the deck and leave the surface parking alone.  However, what you really need to do is price the deck lower than the surface parking.  This will price the commodity properly by pricing the most sought after commodities (street parking) higher than the less desirable (deck parking).  If you fall into the trap of charging for deck parking while not charging for street parking, you will still have congestion which will cause a perceived lack of parking because everyone will try to park on the street for free first and use the deck as a last resort.