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State of the City Address | Jan. 17

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Mayor Gene Hobgood will present his 2019 State of the City Address at the Regular City Council Meeting starting at 6 p.m. this Thursday, Jan. 17, at City Hall, located at 110 Academy Street. Mayor Hobgood will discuss the successes of the past year, projects and goals for the coming year.

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Peachtree Center redo is joining downtown Atlanta’s pre-Super Bowl mural frenzy

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The enlivening of downtown walls in preparation for Super Bowl LIII isn’t limited to the 30 works going up as part of Off The Wall: Atlanta’s Civil Rights and Social Justice Journey, a team effort by local arts organization WonderRoot and the Super Bowl Host Committee.

Downtown’s landmark Peachtree Center, which is undergoing a facelift, is also joining the mural frenzy—in a highly visible way.

On a massive section of the property’s facade facing Peachtree Center Avenue, celebrated French street artist Hopare (aka, Alexandre Monteiro) is painting his first mural in the Southeast, titled Symphony.

Work began January 7 and is expected to finish by month’s end, in time for the February 3 Super Bowl hoopla.

A partnership between Peachtree Center, International Corporate Art (ICArt), and Living Walls, the mural is meant to “foster a sense of excitement and creative energy for years to come,” according to a recent press announcement.

Hopare’s works dot the globe, from Paris to Montreal. He’s recognized for “developing an interesting blend of figuration and abstraction through which he paints colorful work that dramatically contrasts the appearances of the streets,” per the release.

Meanwhile, Peachtree Center owners Banyan Street Capital report the redevelopment of public spaces and the MARTA-connected retail center—The Hub—is on track for completion in the spring.

Expect a more inviting interaction with Peachtree Street and airier, modernized shopping, dining, and entertainment experiences throughout—all meant to cater to a burgeoning downtown population, plus the 6,000 office tenants and guests at 4,000 hotel rooms now connected to the John Portman-developed complex, officials have said.

Banyan Street has worked to build Peachtree Center’s profile recently via weekly Green Markets and the addition of a Relay Bike Share station.

The Atlanta Regional Commission, among other tenants, has claimed space in the six-building complex in recent years, which counts more than 50 shops and restaurants.

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MARTA CEO: $100B (!) in transit investment needed for Atlanta to compete

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In July, the transit authority took control of the struggling Atlanta Streetcar; in September, the West End station debuted a new soccer field for its ...
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Why Do Cities Discount Public Input in Expanding Bikeshare Systems?

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“I have consistently found that local neighborhoods know their area better than anyone,” Joseph R. Lentol, a New York State assemblyman from Brooklyn, said after city officials in 2014 announced a major expansion of New York’s year-old Citi Bike system.

The Chicago Department of Transportation also thanked residents for their input in locating the 175 new bike stations it added in 2015.

“Chicagoans gave great suggestions for the locations of new stations, and we look forward to placing them where they were requested,” Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld said.

Ultimately, though, just a fraction of the docking stations were built in the places recommended by the public, according to our new research on participatory bike share planning in Chicago and New York.

Demands ignored

New Yorkers suggested 2,000 sites as locations for new bike stations in their city, using the transportation department’s interactive online map. But our study, published in the Journal of the American Planning Association, shows that just 5 percent of bike docks built during the 2014-2015 expansion are located within 100 feet of suggested sites.

Chicago was slightly more responsive. Ten percent of docking stations built through 2015 were located at or near the spots residents identified on the interactive map.

Our findings don’t imply that city officials weren’t listening. There are practical reasons why they weren’t able to put most bike stations where people asked.

Public bikes—a quick, green way of getting around town—are designed to complement buses and subways. So enlarging bike systems in New York and Chicago meant assessing gaps in each city’s transportation network. The results of that analysis may conflict with people’s desires about where new docks should be installed.

New Yorkers can ask for more Citi Bikes using an interactive online map—but they won’t necessarily get their wish. (NYC Dept. of Transportation)

Transit planners would also have disregarded suggested dock locations that lacked sidewalk space, or were too close to fire hydrants or utility services.

Cities often face resistance when building bike stations, too. Docks can take away coveted parking space, outraging drivers. In some historic districts, residents and planners see bike docks as incompatible with the atmosphere.

Despite these challenges, officials tried to ensure equal access to the new bikes.

“What I’m shooting for is uniformity across every neighborhood,” New York’s bike share director, John Frost, told residents at a community meeting in 2015.

Differences between neighborhoods

Perfect uniformity is impossible, though. In both cities, we found that the government’s responsiveness to public input varied by neighborhood.

New bike stations in and around downtown Chicago were far more likely to be sited where suggested than those in more suburban areas: 12 percent versus 6 percent. This could be because stations on the outskirts of a system generally are used less, and so are not built as densely as cyclists might like.

The National Association of City Transportation Officials guidelines say that residents of a neighborhood served by bikeshare should live within a five-minute walk of a docking station.

In New York, 9 percent of new docks in outlying boroughs were built where residents asked. In the city’s financial core of Manhattan, just 3 percent of new docks were—likely because people requested more docks in areas of Manhattan already served by bikes, while city officials wanted to expand into new neighborhoods.

Neither city offered much guidance on these issues for people who went online to suggest locations for new bike stations. So residents just dropped their pin where they thought a dock would make most sense.

New York and Chicago are not the only cities to ask people for input in creating or expanding bike share only to end up with final plans that don’t necessarily reflect it.

Cincinnati, Ohio, used an interactive online map as part of a feasibility study in 2012 to guide the launch of its bikeshare. Planners got way more information than they could use: People suggested 330 sites for bike docks throughout the city, across the Ohio River and even into Kentucky.

The launch called for just 29 stations.

Lessons for democracy

The implications of our study go well beyond bikesharing.

Cities must frequently decide how to distribute scarce public resources like low-income housing, transit stations, and parks. The experiences of New York, Chicago, and Cincinnati offer useful lessons for cities hoping to engage residents in decisions that affect their neighborhoods.

All three made great efforts to gather input on locating new bike docks. But it might not appear so, given that just 5 or 10 percent of suggestions were implemented in the end.

With trust in government at historic lows, that could make people even more cynical. They don’t know whether requests for public input are genuine or just a show of democratic process—and a waste of time.

But our study found some positive results from the consultation process around bikeshares in New York and Chicago, too.

The online maps enabled residents to take direct action in planning their cities, rather than just commenting on the ideas of planners—or waking up to discover a docking station had been built outside their door.

As recent urban planning research confirms, this kind of transparency—the online maps, community meetings, workshops and the like—also gives decisions more legitimacy.

It also leaves a record, allowing researchers like us to measure and evaluate the results. Understanding where and why people’s ideas were disregarded can be a learning experience for residents and governments alike.

Ultimately, our study finds that cities wanting public input on big decisions must not only engage residents effectively—they must also explain the constraints they face. That helps residents make informed recommendations that are more likely to be implemented.

Locals know their neighborhoods best. We believe cities that really listen will find the best solutions to urban problems.The Conversation

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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No. of no-show airport security screeners soars in shutdown

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ATLANTA — 

The number of airport security screeners failing to show up for work around the country is soaring as the partial government shutdown goes into its fourth week.

No-shows among screeners jumped Sunday and again Monday, when the Transportation Security Administration reported a national absence rate of 7.6 percent compared with 3.2 percent on a comparable day a year ago. Monday marked the first business day after screeners did not receive a paycheck for the first time since the shutdown began.

At Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world's busiest, some passengers waited more than an hour to get through checkpoints. The airport reported the long lines on its website Monday morning, showing the hour-plus waits at all three checkpoints in the domestic terminal.

"It's chaos out here," passenger Vincent Smith said as he stood in a line that snaked through the Atlanta airport's atrium and baggage claim areas. "This line, I've been here about 15 minutes and it has moved 2 feet."

TSA is working with the Atlanta airport and airlines "to maximize all available operational resources at the airport," TSA spokesman Jim Gregory said.

The agency is working with airports and airlines nationwide to consolidate operations and get the most out of resources, Gregory added. He declined to provide absentee figures for Atlanta or other airports, saying that would compromise security by exposing possible vulnerabilities.

"Screeners will not do anything to compromise or change their security procedures," he said.

But Smith said he could relate to government workers who don't show up so they can find other ways to make ends meet.

"If I was a government worker, yes, I would probably call in and try to do something else because creditors don't care if you're furloughed or not," Smith said. "They just want to get paid and with a family of six, you have to do what you have to."

Atlanta's wait times stretched well beyond what the TSA says most passengers have encountered since the shutdown began.

Delta Air Lines, the dominant carrier in Atlanta, and other airlines said they were advising passengers to get to the airport at least two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international trips. A Delta spokeswoman said airline employees were pitching in by helping manage TSA lines.

TSA said that it screened 1.97 million people on Sunday and that 99.1 percent waited less than 30 minutes, and 93.1 percent less than 15 minutes. Precheck lines for people who pay a fee for expedited screening averaged less than five minutes, TSA said.

A combination of a busy Monday travel day combined with some security lines being closed led to the long lines, airport spokesman Andrew Gobeil said. He said he didn't know how many security lines were down.

A statement from TSA attributed the long waits in Atlanta to "anticipated high volume."

Meanwhile, TSA said it would move officers around the country to deal with local shortages. A few airports are making changes to deal with the shortage of screeners.

At Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport, a security checkpoint and ticket counter that were shuttered Sunday afternoon in Terminal B will remain closed through Tuesday, a spokesman said.

The terminal handles United Express flights. Passengers must go through checkpoints in other terminals, then walk or take a train to planes parked at Terminal B. A spokesman for United Airlines said flights were not affected.

Miami International Airport closed one of its concourses for part of Saturday and Sunday, shifting about a dozen afternoon and evening flights each day to other concourses so that TSA workers could adequately staff the other checkpoints. Airport spokesman Greg Chin said TSA was staffing the Concourse G checkpoint on Monday, but airport officials were monitoring the situation and would make more adjustments if necessary.

An official with the union representing TSA workers said TSA canceled employees' vacation requests about a week ago.

"Since nobody is getting paid, (TSA officials) don't want them to take annual leave," said Cairo D'Almeida, president of a government workers' union local in Seattle. He said he was asking local food banks if they can help the workers.

Gregory, the TSA spokesman said that was not a TSA decision. Under guidelines from the federal Office of Personnel Management, paid time off is canceled for employees, including the airport screeners, who are exempt from certain federal labor laws.

In Atlanta, Monday's long wait times come with less than three weeks remaining before the city hosts one of the world's biggest sporting events. Super Bowl 53 on Feb. 3 is expected to bring hordes of travelers to Atlanta for the game and days of concerts and related events.

"We're confident that we will be as efficient and as welcoming as people expect the city of Atlanta to be here at Hartsfield-Jackson for the Super Bowl," Gobeil said.

___

This story has been edited to clarify that flights are still using Houston airport terminal but checkpoint is closed.

___

Koenig reported from Dallas. Associated Press writer Sarah Blake Morgan contributed from Atlanta.

The Transportation Security Administration reported a national absence rate of 7.6 percent on Monday — the first business day after screeners did not receive a paycheck — compared with 3.2 percent on a comparable Monday a year ago.

At Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world's busiest, some passengers waited more than an hour to get through checkpoints. The airport reported the long lines on its website Monday morning, showing the hour-plus waits at all three checkpoints in the domestic terminal.

"It's chaos out here," passenger Vincent Smith said as he stood in a line that snaked through the Atlanta airport's atrium and baggage claim areas. "This line, I've been here about 15 minutes and it has moved 2 feet."

TSA is working with the Atlanta airport and airlines "to maximize all available operational resources at the airport," TSA spokesman Jim Gregory said.

The agency is working with airports and airlines nationwide to consolidate operations and get the most out of resources, Gregory added. He declined to provide absentee figures for Atlanta or other airports, saying that would compromise security by exposing possible vulnerabilities.

"Screeners will not do anything to compromise or change their security procedures," he said.

But Smith said he could relate to government workers who don't show up so they can find other ways to make ends meet.

"If I was a government worker, yes, I would probably call in and try to do something else because creditors don't care if you're furloughed or not," Smith said. "They just want to get paid and with a family of six, you have to do what you have to."

Atlanta's wait times stretched well beyond what the TSA says most passengers have encountered since the shutdown began.

Delta Air Lines, the dominant carrier in Atlanta, and other airlines said they were advising passengers to get to the airport at least two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international trips. A Delta spokeswoman said airline employees were pitching in by helping manage TSA lines.

TSA said that it screened 1.97 million people on Sunday and that 99.1 percent waited less than 30 minutes, and 93.1 percent less than 15 minutes. Precheck lines for people who pay a fee for expedited screening averaged less than five minutes, TSA said.

A combination of a busy Monday travel day combined with some security lines being closed led to the long lines, airport spokesman Andrew Gobeil said. He said he didn't know how many security lines were down.

A statement from TSA attributed the long waits in Atlanta to "anticipated high volume."

Meanwhile, TSA said it would move officers around the country to deal with local shortages. A few airports are making changes to deal with the shortage of screeners.

At Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport, a security checkpoint and ticket counter that were shuttered Sunday afternoon in Terminal B will remain closed through Tuesday, a spokesman said.

The terminal handles United Express flights. Passengers must go through checkpoints in other terminals, then walk or take a train to planes parked at Terminal B. A spokesman for United Airlines said flights were not affected.

Miami International Airport closed one of its concourses for part of Saturday and Sunday, shifting about a dozen afternoon and evening flights each day to other concourses so that TSA workers could adequately staff the other checkpoints. Airport spokesman Greg Chin said TSA was staffing the Concourse G checkpoint on Monday, but airport officials were monitoring the situation and would make more adjustments if necessary.

An official with the union representing TSA workers said TSA canceled employees' vacation requests about a week ago.

"Since nobody is getting paid, (TSA officials) don't want them to take annual leave," said Cairo D'Almeida, president of a government workers' union local in Seattle. He said he was asking local food banks if they can help the workers.

Gregory, the TSA spokesman said that was not a TSA decision. Under guidelines from the federal Office of Personnel Management, paid time off is canceled for employees, including the airport screeners, who are exempt from certain federal labor laws.

In Atlanta, Monday's long wait times come with less than three weeks remaining before the city hosts one of the world's biggest sporting events. Super Bowl 53 on Feb. 3 is expected to bring hordes of travelers to Atlanta for the game and days of concerts and related events.

"We're confident that we will be as efficient and as welcoming as people expect the city of Atlanta to be here at Hartsfield-Jackson for the Super Bowl," Gobeil said.

___

This story has been edited to clarify that flights are still using Houston airport terminal but checkpoint is closed.

___

Koenig reported from Dallas. Associated Press writer Sarah Blake Morgan contributed from Atlanta.

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City Of Dunwoody

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Dunwoody, GA – January 14, 2019 - The first documented save of the Yellow Dot Program in Georgia involved a Dunwoody woman who suffered a diabetic coma.

“Yellow Dot saved time for the officer, medical providers, EMS and transport,” said Elizabeth Head, Deputy Director of Injury Prevention for the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). “It’s about saving time and saving lives.”

DPH launched Yellow Dot in 2017. Dunwoody Police joined the program in September 2018 after officers and first responders went through required training. Yellow Dot is designed for people 55 and older, or others who are medically fragile, but anyone can take part the program.

In participating communities, like Dunwoody, citizens can pick up free packets, fill out important emergency information, including any medications they’re taking and family contacts, and place the packets on their refrigerator and in the glove box in their car. The packets also come with Yellow Dot stickers for their home and car.

“It made a big difference in how quickly everyone could take care of me and get me better,” said Melanie Howard of Dunwoody.

Ms. Howard had a medical emergency that started without warning on Christmas Day. Her neighbors began to worry when she didn’t show up for a party they were planning that night. They called and knocked on her door but didn’t get an answer. By the next day, neighbors were so concerned that they called Dunwoody Police to ask for a welfare check.

“Our officers went to the home and saw a Yellow Dot sticker on the car,” said Dunwoody Police Sgt. Robert Parsons. “When they received no answer at the door, they went to the car and pulled out the Yellow Dot packet.”

The packet indicated that Ms. Howard was diabetic. It also included details about her medications and contact information for her family.

“I remember nothing,” Ms. Howard said. “I was totally out of it. I was in a diabetic coma.”

Officers made their way into Ms. Howard’s home and found her unresponsive in bed. They immediately called for medical help, and she was rushed to the hospital.

“Had the Yellow Dot sticker not been there, the officers probably wouldn’t have known this person had a medical condition and there was more to this call than just not being home or not talking to neighbors in a few days,” explained Sgt. Parsons.

Dunwoody is one of eight communities in the state where the Yellow Dot program is available. First responders are trained in the program before making packets and stickers available for free.

Yellow Dot kits are available for Dunwoody residents during normal business hours at the following locations:

  • Dunwoody Police Department, 4800 Ashford Dunwoody Road
  • Dunwoody Library, 5339 Chamblee Dunwoody Road
  • The Phoenix at Dunwoody, 4484 N. Shallowford Road
  • The Alzheimer’s Association, 41 Perimeter Center East, Suite 550
  • The Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta, 5342 Tilly Mill Road

The program is funded by three state agencies -- the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, DPH and the Georgia Department of Human Services Division of Aging Services.

Officials with DPH said that anyone outside of Dunwoody who’s interested in starting the program in their own community should contact their local government or law enforcement and encourage them to participate.

#  #  #

For more information regarding the City of Dunwoody, please contact Jennifer Boettcher, Communications Director, at 678.382.6881 or at Jennifer.Boettcher@dunwoodyga.gov or Sgt. Robert Parsons, Dunwoody Police Public Information Officer at 678.382.6909 or at Robert.Parsons@dunwoodyga.gov

About the City of Dunwoody, Georgia

Dunwoody is located in metro Atlanta, in northern DeKalb County, Georgia and was officially incorporated as a city on December 1, 2008. The City of Dunwoody provides quality service to its citizens and supports the largest economic engine in the Southeast by planning in a careful and thoughtful manner. The City of Dunwoody is inventive, transparent and embraces responsible progress, tempered by the city’s rich history and strong desire to maintain a close and vibrant community atmosphere that values family life and the entrepreneurial spirit. The City of Dunwoody supports and nurtures a community dedicated to the preservation of family, education, religious institutions, and the environment.

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