By C. Julia Nelson
cjnelson@reporternewspapers.net

Last fall, the Atlanta Bureau of Planning began a yearlong process to develop the Connect Atlanta Plan, the first comprehensive transportation plan for the City of Atlanta. This plan will guide the next 25 years of transportation policy and investment and is dependent upon input from the community.

Based on a continuous influx of residential and economic growth in Atlanta, the Bureau of Planning has identified a need to provide a transportation plan that relieves the stress on Atlanta’s transportation infrastructure.

Included in this plan will be measures to insure mobility, continued economic growth and quality of life for citizens, commuters and visitors in addition to an efficient, effective and affordable transportation plan.

In an effort to extract information from residents and other stakeholders, the bureau has organized an interactive series of public Connect Atlanta workshops. There are four sets of workshops divvied up based on neighborhoods segments around the city.

The first of these workshops will encompass the Buckhead area. Public meetings will be held on Monday, Feb. 11 and Thursday Feb. 14 for NPUs A, B, C, D, G, J, K and L.

Both meetings will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Georgia-Pacific Center Auditorium, located at 133 Peachtree St. N.E. Heather Alhadeff, assistant director for the Bureau of Planning, said community input from residents, commuters and visitors at these sessions is vital to creating a functional long-term comprehensive transportation plan for Atlanta.

“Monday night there’s a presentation (outlining) what we’ll be doing and Thursday will wrap up what we’ve discovered and figured out,” Alhadeff said. “We hope a lot of the public comes out. Of all the meetings, these (workshops) are the most vital and opportune times to get involved, make comments and see the process.”

Buckhead neighborhood workshops will be held Monday through Thursday of the same week and will run each day from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. They will be held at the center in Suite 3100 on the 31st floor.

The workshops are designed to collect information on specific transportation challenges. Each one will include an introductory and conclusive session to review the plan, explain the workshop format and present what has been accomplished during the week.

Alhadeff said the workshop will be intensive information gathering sessions where questions and feedback are key. It’s the first time the city has attempted a process where neighborhoods will have four continuous days to provide insight,solutions or recommendations on problem areas.

“We’ve never done anything like before,” Alhadeff said. “We hope this will make it as easy as possible for people to give input. The public can come and go whenever they want; it’s a great way to get a lot of feedback immediately.”

Involvement in the workshops is a one-time opportunity, however regular public meetings will occur throughout the planning process.

“It’s absolutely critical that this is a community based plan. We’ll be carrying this out for years. We need to have a sound and community directed plan, one that the community can take ownership of and work together to implement in the long-run. The vision has to be a community vision – it can’t belong to just one administration.”

Other workshops scheduled will be held Mondays through Thursdays later this spring including Feb. 25-28 (NPUs H, I, Q, P, R), March 10-13 (NPUs S, T, V, X, Y, Z) and March 24-27 (NPUs E, F, M, N, O, W).

Further information is available at www.connectatlantaplan.com or by calling the Connect Atlanta helpline at (404) 330-6800.

Community input may also be submitted through an online survey.

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