Roswell Road remade as “Roswell Boulevard” with a tree-lined median? That’s among the “big ideas” coming out of Sandy Springs’ “Next Ten” planning process that were previewed by City Council at its Jan. 26 retreat at Lost Corner park.

The general public can weigh in on the draft results at a Jan. 27 public meeting and can view the council retreat presentation here.

A map of various suggested ideas from Sandy Springs’ Next Ten planning team presented at a Jan. 26 meeting.

The Next Ten consultant team is about halfway through revising the overall Comprehensive Plan that guides city zoning and development, and creating “Small Area Plans” for some specific sub-neighborhoods. The Small Area Plan drafts available right now are for Perimeter Center and Roswell Road’s northern and southern reaches.

The general thrust of the planning is more mixed-use redevelopment and reducing car travel. But the consultant team, led by Rhodeside & Harwell, is adding some bigger proposals that would transform entire areas, such as routing some form of alternative public transit east-west through central Sandy Springs. (And yes, the much-discussed idea of a Sandy Springs monorail was discussed some more, this time with price points.)

Some highlights include:

  • Roswell Road becoming “Roswell Boulevard,” with its central “suicide lane” for turns converted into a tree-lined median on the northern stretch and a grass median on the southern leg. Large sidewalks or multiuse paths could line much of the street as well.
  • Possible trails following the city’s several east-west streams as connectors between green spaces, or as links to urban spaces and the Chattahoochee River.
  • Speaking of the Chattahoochee, pedestrian bridges to connect to its parkland in Cobb and Roswell are another idea.
  • Peachtree-Dunwoody Road in Perimeter Center becoming a main boulevard, with a 75-foot right of way on the west side becoming either a massive green space with wide paths or a possible bus route.
  • A “signature green space” for Perimeter Center at what is now Dunwoody Chace townhomes area, though it is unclear how that would become a park.

Transportation consultant Karina Ricks of Nelson\Nygaard had several ideas for unclogging the area’s traffic, largely geared toward increasing alternative modes, improving east-west connections, and adding circulator shuttles or buses to connect to MARTA.

But she also had a public transit idea to spark some imaginations. She called for bringing back the state Department of Transportation’s longstanding notion of some sort of public transit along the top end of I-285—but, instead of keeping it literally on the highway, routing it through Sandy Springs near the City Springs redevelopment.

“It may be easy to put it on the interstate…[but] the better move is to put it where people are living and working,” Ricks said.

What might that public transit be? Ricks presented images and simple cost estimates of many alternatives—from dangling gondolas and monorails to conventional trains and buses.

Some of the alternative public transit options presented by Next Ten planners at the Sandy Springs City Council retreat Jan. 26.

Mayor Rusty Paul said Sandy Springs couldn’t afford to create something like that on its own, but could consider partnering with neighboring cities. “We can lead on getting other people to the table,” the mayor said. “You notice we start talking about a monorail and next thing you know, Brookhaven and Chamblee are talking.”

The Jan. 27 Next Ten workshop is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. at the Sherwood Event Hall, 8610 Roswell Road #200. Spanish-language translation will be available and there will be children’s activities. For more information, see thenext10.org.

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