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Sandy Springs Exploring Complete Street Design

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With bike lanes and transit, Sandy Springs is looking to the future while others idle

The time has come to give credit where it's due: Sandy Springs is crushing this urban planning thing. Despite being a suburb of Atlanta, the city has managed to:

  1. Create a plan to build a walkable downtown district
  2. Push transit in long-range planning
  3. Reap the benefits of MARTA access
  4. Densify development on a main thoroughfare
  5. Attract international development interest to bolster a burgeoning business core

Now, the city is doing something that even Buckhead, which outpaces Sandy Springs in density, couldn't muster just months ago. According to Reporter Newspapers, the city is forging ahead with plans to add bike lanes and more pedestrian-friendly amenities to Hammond Drive. What's more, civic leaders are concerned with future-proofing the road to accommodate mass transit. One of the few major east-west connectors in the city, Hammond Drive serves as an arterial road stretching from the heart of Perimeter Center and Dunwoody MARTA station to the new City Springs development in "downtown" Sandy Springs, linking the areas to Ga. Highway 400.

The objective: By committing to designing the road for all forms of transportation, Sandy Springs is ensuring that as the city continues to grow, it will have the necessary infrastructure to support that growth.

The latest news serves as a counterpoint to the events that transpired just south of Sandy Springs in Buckhead. Peachtree Road — similar to Hammond in that it is one of the few north-south serving corridors in the area — was slated to get bike lanes under a re-striping proposal by GDOT. Community outrage ensued, and the plan was ultimately scrapped. Similarly, a short time later, the City of Atlanta met with so much opposition to the notion that streetcar service could one day traverse Peachtree that they removed the option from a final draft of pie-in-the-sky expansion plans.

Meanwhile, Sandy Springs is planning for not just on-road bike lanes, but a grade-separated right-of-way buffered from vehicular traffic by a large planting island. To be fair, the city does have the major benefit of extra space on either side of the road, but this commitment to alternative transportation is to be lauded nonetheless.

The improvements, including future transit, would connect the Dunwoody MARTA station and Perimeter Mall to the new State Farm campus and a slew of planned and in-process new developments along Hammond Drive. Theoretically, if continued past Glenridge Drive, the network could tie into the heart of Sandy Springs at City Springs. And that would make some serious sense.