Sandy Springs residents called for more sidewalks, bicycle paths and shuttle services in one of two June 18 meetings for input into the city’s Master Transportation Plan.

The next step in development the Master Transportation Plan puts residents in the driver’s seat as they complete an online survey to tell the city what their priorities are. The interactive survey lets residents plot where they want improvements made for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit, roadway and any other transportation-related issues.

An illustration from the Sandy Springs Master Transportation Plan presentation shows the “density” of the 119 vehicle accidents in the city in 2015-2019, with red as the highest and green as the lowest. Roswell Road had the most accidents on surface streets, with 28% of the city’s total.

Representatives of Kimley-Horn joined Caitlin Shankle, transportation planner for the city of Sandy Springs, to host the Zoom meetings.

In an evening meeting session, Kimley-Horn’s Jessica Choi shared demographics and projections for the city to help identify needs. She said while the city grew by 60% between 1990 and 2018, that growth has slowed to less than 1% annually. The population is aging, with almost one-third of city residents 50 or older.

Not everyone owns a car, she said, with 1 in every 15 households lacking access to a vehicle. For some that’s by choice, but many of those households can’t afford a vehicle, which also affects transportation needs. While many of these households are near the four MARTA stations in the city, others live in the North End or the panhandle near Gwinnett and have limited transit access.

Choi said planners want to consider equitable access across the city to accommodate for everybody’s quality of life.

Any transportation plan needs to account for the 123,700 people who live outside Sandy Springs but come here to work. Few Sandy Springs residents work in the city, with 39,800 of them traveling outside city limits for their jobs, Choi said. Only 8,250 residents live and work in the city.

“We have to put a lot of thought into our transportation network and how people are moving today,” she said.

All that movement resulted in 119 crashes on surface streets between 2015 and 2019 that resulted in serious injuries or death, she said. Roswell Road had the most accidents on surface streets, with 28% of the city’s total. Ten corridors accounted for almost 70% of the accidents, with Peachtree-Dunwoody Road, Abernathy Road, Hammond Drive and Johnson Ferry Road having the next-highest accident totals.

The city will keep the online transportation survey open through July 14. To view the meeting presentation, see the city’s website here.

When the survey is done, planners will complete their existing conditions report about existing conditions and continue an assessment of different types of transportation, including walking, cycling, public transit, private motor vehicles and connections between those modes.

The planners hope to hold a public meeting in person in the fall to show how they’d included residents’ priorities. Sometime in December, the update is expected to be reviewed by the City Council and adopted.

Shankle can be contacted by email at tmp@sandysprings.gov.

Bob Pepalis

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Reporter Newspapers.