Smart transit planning for Vista Grove
Summer road trip season has arrived, and it’s a good time to reflect on the traffic challenges that our community will need to meet. If you’ve spent any time on one of our major arterial roads, especially during peak hours, you know how critical it is that we create options for the community to travel to our public spaces, commercial centers, and recreation areas in ways other than driving. The ability to easily travel is more essential than ever to our quality of life.
Instead of accepting that we are doomed to sit in traffic or idle on congested roads, we critically need our community to be connected by a variety of integrated transit solutions, whether they be bikeways crisscrossing our area, walking paths and trails, or options like a shuttle or connection points to light rail to move into and out of the city and to connect with the growing regional transit structure. We want proximity to amenities, and to vibrant destinations here in the community. We want the ability to implement innovative options in the same way as neighboring cities, be they bike lanes and bike rental services, local access shuttles and connection to light transit, new networks of sidewalks, or reworked and modernized pedestrian areas.
To realize that kind of walkable, bikeable, and connected Vista Grove, we need smart and specific planning. Smart planning should be focused specifically on this area and also examine the impact of projects on our region as a whole. It means an overall and ongoing traffic assessment, and an appreciation for innovation, including the sorts of projects and innovations neighboring cities have employed. It means using the most creative means necessary to reduce sprawl and traffic congestion. Our area needs to be part of the conversation other cities are having about these initiatives and to make our own decisions about transit.
In addition to smart planning, a connected Vista Grove would mean having adequate resources and an energized civic platform to implement the plan. Our Vista Grove feasibility study confirms that a new city will be economically strong and able to comfortably fund exactly the infrastructure improvements we need. Transit was a major impetus for Emory University, which recognized the challenges of our traffic-laden area and annexed into the city of Atlanta to take advantage of light rail expansion. And Chamblee, Brookhaven, and Tucker (among other neighbors) are showing us the kind of initiative and energy that a city can bring to activate, implement, and complete such projects.
As a city in charge of our own planning and zoning, we in Vista Grove could and should make these decisions ourselves because the shape of our infrastructure and transit systems has a dramatic impact on all of us. As one of the founders of the Beltline has noted, “transportation infrastructure does more than move people. It builds communities, and it constructs our way of life. In short, it matters what kind of infrastructure we build, so we should think carefully about how we would prefer to live and make sure that the policies and projects we invest in are supporting those lifestyle goals." (R. Gravel, Where We Want To Live.)
Today, the situation is very different than when our area’s neighborhoods were laid out in the 1950s and 1960s. Our community was considered a retreat from the city, and its lack of connection was considered desirable. Now we are part of a bigger metropolitan region, one whose population has been exploding while our roads and other infrastructure have aged.
The good news is that we don’t have to accept the status quo. As a city of Vista Grove, economically strong and with a shared purpose of modernizing our area for the benefit of all, we could transform Vista Grove into a smart transit community ready for the 21st century and beyond.
If transit is an issue especially important to you, we would welcome your help as a volunteer for our Public Works and Transit task force.
What else can you do to help Vista Grove become a reality?
- Donateto help us fund our education and outreach efforts.
- Encourage your neighbors to sign our petitionto let legislators know we want the option to consider cityhood.
- Help represent Vista Grove by attending other key community meetings (please wear your Vista Grove shirt!).
- Volunteerwith Vista Grove Initiative.
Andrew, Meg, Lara, John, and Megan