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City to Study Parking, Traffic Around Piedmont Park

Study is response to neighborhood's growing concerns about large events at the park.

The Atlanta City Council on Monday commissioned a parking and traffic study for the neighborhoods and streets around . 

“This is an opportunity for us to bring city policy into Midtown’s 21st century," Dist. 2 Councilman Kwanza Hall said Monday in an announcement.

"One of my hopes for the study is that it will provide a blueprint for other intown neighborhoods whose local parks and streets are becoming increasingly popular with festival and event organizers," Hall said.

Neighborhood leaders in Midtown this year have been with festivals at Piedmont Park. Many residents say large events are causing parking and traffic issues, as well as safety concerns.

“This legislation is a result of concerns that have been expressed to me by communities directly impacted by the festivals and events occurring in Piedmont Park,” Post 1 At-Large Councilman Michael Julian Bond said. Bond drafted the legislation to commission the study.

In May, Neighborhood Planning Unit E  the approval of the Atlanta Jazz Festival’s special event permit. The NPU-E board didn't agree with closing 10th Street for the event. But their showing of opposition did nothing to prevent the street from closing or the festival from happening.

After that, local leaders in the event planning process. The Midtown Neighbors’ Association conducted a survey this summer about festivals and collected more than 200 responses.

"The city looks forward to working with the various neighborhood associations and park advocacy groups to come up with a solution that will not only preserve the quality of life of nearby neighbors, but will also allow visitors continued access to our city’s premier, centrally located park," Dist. 6 Councilman Alex Wan said Monday in an announcement.

Under the new legislation, a study committee will be formed of city officials, as well as representatives from the Atlanta Police Department, , , Midtown Neighbors' Association, Ansley Park Civic Association, Neighborhood Planning Unit E and other nearby neighborhood groups.

The panel will work to identify the available parking options for Piedmont Park, the area's traffic patterns and possible solutions for the future.

“I look forward to facilitating an open dialogue between the pertinent city departments and our constituents," Bond said. 

City officials hope to start the study this year and finish by March, CBS Atlanta reports. The study shouldn't cost any money, Wan told the television station.

What do you think of this effort? Is a study necessary?

Terry Smith October 04, 2011 at 01:47 PM
the question begs to be asked, will the study actually result in any visible changes or is it merely for show? and what of the parking deck which was built, against the objectiosn of many in the neighborhoods, to accommodate large crowds? does NAYONE ever park there? or do people prefer to park on neighborhood streets, where they don't have to pay? just curious.....
lig October 04, 2011 at 03:19 PM
As a 9 year homeowner in Midtown (and a long time rental resident before that) I find this a complete waste of time and money. What solutions could possibly be drawn? Build another parking deck nobody wants or uses? We all bought our houses long after the park was built. Deal with the festivals and get over it or move.
Dan Matisoff October 04, 2011 at 06:04 PM
I purchased a house along the park in Midtown - largely BECAUSE of the park and the festivals. The festivals are why we live in Midtown - it's the center of activity in the city. If you don't like the festivals, the park, and the bustle of city life - there are a lot of suburbs or other places you can live in. The park and the atmosphere intown is what gives the neighborhood value, and the park has been here before you moved here - so you should have been aware of traffic issues before you moved to Midtown. Further - there's a lot of Not-In-My-Back-Yard (NIMBY) politics going on in the neighborhood associations... the people who are represented - and who are on the Midtown Neighbors Board - are those citizens who are upset. They're not elected officials, and they don't properly represent the demands and preferences of the community.
Sara Van Beck October 04, 2011 at 06:14 PM
For those of you relatively new folks who moved in since the Olympics- There are still a number of residents who moved into Midtown 20 and 30 years ago, long before the Piedmont Park Conservancy decided that a major event needs to be held in the park every weekend. Of those individuals, those who do not have parking pads (many of which have been installed across Midtown illegally) find having to park blocks away somewhat of an inconvenience when dealing with groceries or elderly relatives. There is no one uniform situation applying to all homeowners in Midtown, and throwing stones at your neighbors whom you depend on to call 911 when they see someone skulking around your car or home, rather than trying to come up with something relatively equitable for all tax paying residents is rather unbecoming of an adult.
lig October 04, 2011 at 08:22 PM
Some of us who oppose the never ending regulations are not new to the neighborhood. While I've been a homeowner for 9 years, I started at Ga Tech in 1986 and very clearly remember the park pre-Piedmont Park Conservancy. Very dirty. Cars galore. Drugs, crime, prostitution. The incredible improvements to the park have come with a price - popularity. It's not throwing stones to say that no parking studies are going to change that popularity. There are those of us in the neighborhood who feel that ever increasing rules and regulations are not an improvement to quality of life. And regardless will do nothing to abate the demand of the park.
Robert Fritz October 05, 2011 at 11:18 AM
It's not a question of folks not wanting to pay to park in the deck. The problem with the deck is that it is mainly for use of the atlanta botanical garden with remaining available spaces (overflow spaces) available for the park. This doesn't begin to handle the crowds the park gets not only for festivals but even on popular heavy traffic days due to the beautiful weather.
Midtown Junk October 05, 2011 at 02:27 PM
I think the key paragraph here is "In May, Neighborhood Planning Unit E voted not to recommend the approval of the Atlanta Jazz Festival’s special event permit. The NPU-E board didn't agree with closing 10th Street for the event. But their showing of opposition did nothing to prevent the street from closing or the festival from happening." Like everything else related to in and around the park, the Park Conservancy and the City will continue to do whatever they want however they see fit. Case in point - Valet Parking at Will's/Parq - it's been "in the wrok's" for years...but until the right palms get greased...nothings ever going to happen. Also refer to the article here on Patch about the bench in the park - that they refuse to move - first saying it was money - then when neighboring building offered to pay - saying they still wouldn't move it. Must be great to have a job where you do nothing and answer to no one. Congrats!!
Liz October 06, 2011 at 03:39 PM
"City officials hope to start the study this year and finish by March, CBS Atlanta reports. The study shouldn't cost any money, Wan told the television station." REALLY? Who's doing the study for free? If this guy really thinks the study is free, what other magic does he think is coming our way to fix this problem? For those who ask why do a parking study, because they don't know what answers there could possibly be, that's the point of the study, to see if there are answers that someone with experience and knowledge can come up with! The other part of this equation is and always will be the government and its' backward approach to city planning. There is never forethought about how things will affect the surrounding areas and people. Case in point-Huff Rd. They have allowed the development of several apartment complexes with hundreds of units on a TWO lane road. That adds hundreds of cars and has led to a bad traffic situation that is only going to get worse as the apartments fill up. A study for the entire Metro area is probably needed with a look at how our city planning is done throughout, and to come up with a solution that looks at how everything works together.
Tim October 14, 2011 at 01:58 PM
The increase in park visits is good for the city - that is what parks are for, and all city property owners pay a spcific tax for it. Except for one or two festivals, the number of major fests has stayed pretty even for the last 20 or so years. Dogwood, Arts, Jazz, Pride, 10K. The concerts have been added, but these are commercial money makers for the park. And a few have ended...movies, symphony. I support the festivals - that is a big reason I haved lived in Midtown all these years.
Tim October 14, 2011 at 02:03 PM
One solution, ease up on the rules for property owners to re-install parking on their property. Reserving the public streets for private personal parking is not a good solution, although it has turned out to be a good revenue source for the city. Rather, encourge owners to start using their alleys for back parking again, allow well planned pads. Very few homes in Midtown do not have room for 1 or 2 cars. Mainly it is rental units that need the on street parking, and that is just part of renting. Plan trips for the morning, and leave your car in the afternoon and enjoy the park. Encourage more Marta riding, perhaps an off location where people can park and take a special bus to a park drop off. And please, stop cosing 10th St - there is no reason! Especially fro the 10K, the entire street does not need closed for a long weekend for a small setup. Whew, I feel better!

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