North Fulton’s Community Improvement District has created an update to their Blueprint plan. The self-taxing group of commercial property owners advocates, and in some cases implements, transportation projects in the area. Their blueprint 2.0 plan(opens to pdf) outlines projects they hope to work on over the next several years.
The CID does some great work. Recently they finished the triple left turn lanes from Mansell Road onto North Point Parkway. A similar and much need project is planned for the GA-400 ramp to Windward Parkway. They’re also responsible for much of the new landscaping you see throughout the city.
But the CID should be carefully watched. Their leadership has deep ties to Georgia’s establishment transportation bureaucracy. Brandon Beach is the CID’s executive director. He’s a former Georgia DOT commissioner and sits on powerful transportation committees in the Georgia Senate. Atlanta Regional Commission chairman Tad Leithead also sits on the CID board.
CIDs are often used as local advocacy groups, providing the tailwind to get bigger projects moving. They can fund studies and create engineering plans, even on projects outside of their areas. These plans can then be picked up and funded by any of Georgia’s alphabet soup of transportation agencies (GDOT, ARC, GRTA, SRTA, etc).
An example might be transit stations in Alpharetta. The blueprint calls for transit stations at Encore Parkway and Windward Parkway. It was only a few months ago when Alpharetta’s Council was browbeating MARTA over plans to come here. Yet the same Council didn’t even mention the transit stations in the CID’s blueprint when presented to them two weeks ago.
If Alpharetta’s Council is serious about stopping MARTA expansion then they should push back on the CID when they plan for it! Or do they have the guts to challenge Brandon Beach? It’s doubtful.
The CID will hold an open house tonight at 5:30 at their office, 11605 Haynes Bridge Road. The public is invited to attend and provide feedback.
North Fulton’s CID does some great work but with strings attached. It’s important to carefully watch seemingly small transportation plans like this. Read between the lines and watch the process.