Sidewalk chat

Dec 26 2013

Historic Hexagonal sidewalk tile."In Atlanta, the person who thinks anything at all of the kind of sidewalk he walks on must be impressed by the large extent of walk made up of flat hexagonal concrete tile," a cement industry trade journal in 1909 reported. "And the person who does not ordinarily think of such things also will soon become conscious of the fact that he is traveling over an easy and smooth pavement."

As Candler Park residents and folks who live in other Atlanta intown neighborhoods know, many of our historic sidewalks are no longer smooth and not so easy to walk along. If you're pushing a baby stroller or trying to navigate with a wheelchair, you're oftentimes forced to walk in the street because many segments of our sidewalks are in disrepair.

The number one item on a 2010 "Community Wish List" prepared to guide the completion of the Candler Park Master Plan was "fix the sidewalks." According to the Master Plan document approved by the neighborhood earlier this year, "In much of the neighborhood, sidewalks are non-existent or in extremely poor condition. Broken sidewalks, gaps in the sidewalks and buckled pavement are common on many streets."

Damaged sidewalk.
Tree roots create much of the damage to Candler Park's sidewalk. Photo by David Rotenstein.

Our sidewalks contribute to our neighborhood's character and sense of place, yet they remain a vexing problem for residents and planners. One way to provide some visual continuity with the past has been to replace damaged sidewalk pavers with poured concrete that has been scored to resemble the historic pattern found throughout the city.

Walking through the neighborhood, I've wondered how individuals and the city's public works employees approach the challenges our sidewalks present. The day after Christmas I encountered an Atlanta Department of Watershed Management crew finishing a section of sidewalk just poured where underground pipe work recently was completed.

I stopped and talked to the crew as they were finishing for the afternoon. "Any time they come out and tear anything up, it’s up to us to put it back together," explained Watershed worker Grady Broughton. "We put back what the neighborhood and stuff is used to."

Patterns used to score new sidewalks.
Metal patterns used to recreate the historic hexagonal patterns on Candler Park sidewalks.
Photo by David Rotenstein.

Broughton and his two coworkers showed us the metal patterns used to score the new sidewalks. One is a full hexagon and the other is a half hexagon. "It’s a lot more extra work. You’ve got to try to match them," he said."

I would have liked to have talked a little more but a family had just stopped to deposit some books in the Little Free Library next to the work zone and someone stepped into the wet concrete. It was the second time that day.

What do you think about our sidewalks and the ways to retain their charm while ensuring that Candler Park has a more user-friendly circulation network?

Join us at tonight's meeting: Food at 6:30, biz at 7

Dec 16 2013

Please join us 7 tonight for the Candler Park Neighborhood Organization's December Meeting at the Existentialist Church, 470 Candler Park Drive.

We have several interesting topics on the agenda, including Master Plan implementation, the Events Committee's proposals on festivals, and a bylaws amendment designed to streamline our annual election meeting. Plus, you'll find out how you can participate in Trees Atlanta's upcoming Candler Park tree planting and even how to get an excellent tree for your property out of the deal!

In addition, we'll be seeking input on efforts to make our meetings flow better — with an aim toward saving time and allowing us to focus on the important stuff. If that's not enough, there's another lure: It'll be my stab at chairing the meeting, which should give you plenty of opportunities for laughter and derision!

Socializing starts at 6:30 — with complimentary vittles from the Corner Tavern in Little Five Points, as well as beer and softdrinks. Also, remember: Free child care is available.

Please find the agenda attached.

Bella's baby plants

Dec 14 2013

Christmas is approaching and Diana Swiderski has some baby Christmas cactus plants that need new homes. Swiderski, who likes to be called “Bella,” raises the plants from clippings in her backyard greenhouse. 

The retired healthcare professional has been selling plants throughout Atlanta for about three years. She peddles her leafy progeny at nonprofit auctions, flea markets, and other events. But her favorite venue is the masonry retaining wall in front of the Miller Ave. home where she's lived since 1988. It's where Bella helps to build community one plant at a time.

"One thing about the plants out there on the wall, it's been a really good opportunity to meet my neighbors," Bella explained. "So being outside and people walking and stopping at the wall, I find out that they're my neighbors and I get to meet new people."

And why does she want to be known as Bella? “My neighbors know me as Diana but I’m trying to get them to go to Bella,” she said. Learn why she wants to be known as Bella and more about this interesting Candler Parker in the January 2014 Messenger. In the meantime, if you're walking along Miller Ave. between Oakdale Road and Candler Park Drive, be sure to keep an eye open for Bella's Baby Plants and, of course, Bella.

Bella's greenhouse. Photo by David Rotenstein.
Bella's greenhouse. Photo by David Rotenstein.

Recommendations from the Events Committee Survey

Dec 13 2013

submitted by Amy Stout

The CPNO Committee on Events in Candler Park was tasked with developing recommendations to present to City of Atlanta officials regarding special events in Candler Park. Our group conducted a survey to gather neighborhood input, the results of which guided the development of the following recommendations for your consideration.

Event Size

  • Enforce the Parks Department’s recommendation to limit events inCandler Park to Class C or smaller (Less than 20,000 attendees)
Traffic and parking on neighborhood streets
  • Limiting festival size should lessen impact
  • Increase MARTA train service
  • Run shuttles from MARTA station
  • Utilize Edgewood MARTA station parking lots

Sound levels

  • Enforce decibel limits currently in effect at Chastain Park
  • End amplified music at 9:30 pm
Please go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GH6YBTP to submit your feedback and/or attend the CPNO meeting on Monday, December 16th for a neighborhood discussion of these proposals.

November election postscript

Dec 11 2013

The December Messenger features an article on voting irregularities that occurred at the Epworth Methodist Church polling station during the Nov. 5 municipal election. The article recounts how many Candler Parkers were issued incorrect electronic ballots. According state and Atlanta elections officials, the Candler Park precinct was the only location with ballot problems in the election.

Voters who tried to cast ballots for the candidates they supported discovered the problems less than an hour after the polls opened at 7 AM. Several approached campaign workers who were set up across McLendon Avenue where they had posted signs for their candidates and where school board candidate Leslie Grant’s volunteers were giving out doughnuts and coffee. Marcy Leamy, who lives on McLendon, was one of the first to report the problems to campaign workers and CPNO. I was there, along with CPNO president Ken Edelstein, when Leamy approached Grant’s volunteers and told them about the incorrect ballots. “I have her yard signs,” Leamy said. "We can't vote for the people we want to."

As word of the ballot problems began spreading, campaign workers had to deal with another issue: they had posted signs and set up their table too close to the polling station. Shortly after Leamy told Grant’s volunteers about the incorrect ballots, Epworth’s assistant poll manager removed campaign signs from the McLendon Ave. roadside that he determined were too close to the church. He also told Grant’s volunteers to move their table to a point beyond the legally mandated distance from the church building. Georgia law, like that in other states, restricts campaign activities near polling places. According to Georgia Code, campaign literature (including signs) must be more than 150 feet from “the outer edge of any building within which a polling place is established.”

Campaign workers Carolyn Morton and Candace Dixon move their table away from Epworth on Nov. 5. Photo by David Rotenstein.
Campaign workers Carolyn Morton and Candace Dixon move their table
away from Epworth on Nov. 5. Photo by David Rotenstein.

Campaign signs along McLendon Ave. on election day. Photo by David Rotenstein.
Campaign signs along McLendon Ave. on election day.
Photo by David Rotenstein.

For more about the November election, read the December Messenger

Proposed ByLaw Amendment

Dec 10 2013

Proposed Amendment to Artivle IV Section 5:

Add on to the end of the paragraph:

In the event that there is only one candidate for given office and there are no nominations from the floor, then and only then, the requirement for election by ballot for that officer may be suspended. This could be may be done by a motion to elect by acclamation, properly seconded, and voted by a show of hands.

The exciting world of an Alternate NPU rep!

Dec 10 2013

Have you been looking for just the right opportunity to dip your toes into the pool of neighborhood activism? To test the waters of community volunteer-itude? To swim in the pool of civic do-goodery?

Friends and neighbors: Have we got the opportunity for you! 

How about throwing your rubber ducky into the pond to become a Neighborhood Planning Unit-N alternate representative? Getting involved in our NPU — a multi-neighborhood, city-chartered organization that has a say on a wide variety of planning issues and events — is an excellent way to learn how the city works from a grassroots perspective ... and frankly to make a difference.

CPNO can appoint up to five alternates to NPU-N to support our lead rep, Amy Stout. The basics of serving as an alternate don't take much time -- all you're really expected is to do is fill in very occasionally for Amy if she can't make a meeting. And if there are five alternates, filling in just ain't gonna be a big deal.

But we do hope to attract folks to these positions who are genuinely interested in making in difference for Candler Park. It certainly will motivate you to learn a little bit more about the system and specific issues. And it should give you a better idea of effective ways to push a project or two that you really care about.

If you’re interested in serving as an alternate, please send an email by clicking here. It would help if you'd tell us how you’d like to be involved in making Candler Park a better place. Examples might include “improving our parks and public spaces,” “solving transportation issues,” “making CP safer,” “fundraising,” or “putting on great events.” We want this NPU alt position to serve as your gateway drug to neighborhood activism.

December Messenger - Available Now

Dec 7 2013

The December Messenger [pdf] is available now! Physical copies will be distributed soon.

CPNO Board to APS: Please suspend Candler Park traffic changes

Dec 6 2013
The CPNO Board of Directors adopted this morning a statement urging Atlanta Public Schools and Mary Lin Elementary to suspend the Mary Lin principal's decision to end northbound student dropoffs on Candler Park Drive this coming Monday.
 
The board took the unusual step of adopting this statement in expedited fashion not only because of our concern about its sudden implementation, but also because the change hasn't been vetted with all interested parties or with all information available. In addition to neighborhood concerns about how this change will impact traffic, we're worried for the safety and disrupted routines of both parents and children.We are simply asking for a delay of this change so that it can be properly examined, so that all stakeholders can participate in the process, and so that any change can be properly planned for -- rather than suddenly imposed.

The full statement appears below and it's attached as a PDF here.

Council OKs CP Master Plan

Dec 3 2013
With a handful of changes, Atlanta City Council endorsed the Candler Park Master Plan on Monday, according to the planner engage by the neighborhood earlier this year develop the plan. Now, our real work begins.
 
The plan actually was approved as part of a bundle of other measures that passed Council unanimously, planner Aaron Fortner of Market & Main wrote me last night in an email. The changes, which are fairly standard as neighborhood plans work their way through City Council, involve three issues that I'll address in a later post. Only Mayor Kasim Reed's signature is needed for the document to be officially adopted by the city.
 
Congratulations are due — not only to Fortner, but also to Jimmy Bligh, to the Master Plan Steering Committee that he chaired, and to more than 100 Candler Parkers who provided input to the plan.
 
It's important to note, however, that the plan’s adoption doesn’t turn any of its recommendations into reality. It's up to us — working together as neighbors — to put in place the improvements we voted for back up in August.
 
Toward that end, I’ve been working with board officers and other neighbors to develop an inclusive approach for implementing the plan. We discussed that proposal briefly at last month’s membership meeting, and I've posted the latest version of it here. You'll also find an article in this month’s Messenger about it.
 
Please check out the proposed approach and offer your feedback here. If we can follow up last month's membership Q-and-A with some online discussion here, perhaps things will fall into place to allow us to vote on it at the Dec. 16 membership meeting.