Guest Columns

Guest Columns

Investing 15 percent of bond package on bikeways a good way to make Atlanta a top 10 city for cycling

By Guest Columnist REBECCA SERNA, executive director of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition

Tens of thousands of people flocked to Atlanta Streets Alive, a car-free initiative of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, this Sunday, Sept. 28.

Last year, Atlanta Streets Alive attracted 83,000 participants. That’s greater than the capacity of the Georgia Dome! And half of these participants arrived by bike.
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Creating an Atlanta art of civic play with the BeltLine’s Lantern Parade

By Guest Columnist CHANTELLE RYTTER, community parade artist and captain of the Krewe of the Grateful Gluttons (founder of the BeltLine’s Lantern Parade)

In 2010, Art on the BeltLine gave a call for proposals for visual and performing art projects to happen on the interim trails of the Atlanta BeltLine. This was when the Eastside Trail was that dark creepy place behind the dumpsters. Pricilla Smith, executive director of Eyedrum and one of the Art on the BeltLine founders, called me and suggested I propose a parade.

Priscilla knew the Krewe of the Grateful Gluttons from our participation in the Little Five Points Halloween Parade and Inman Park Festival Parade. More importantly, she knew that the idea of civic play — making people active participants in the culture of their city — was the fuel that drove me.
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Atlanta’s Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Vine City provide new opportunity for Black businesses to shine

By Guest Columnist JOSEPH R. HUDSON, author and unabashed Black business and inner-city commerce advocate

We live in a region where African-American mayors, local and national elected officials, the success of Black businesses, and Black leaders of corporate organizations and municipalities are recognized nationally. This recognition includes media moguls, pop stars, real-estate kingpins, social justice pioneers, doctors, lawyers, engineers, ministers, TV stars and educational institutions that reign supreme.

Atlanta is also recognized for a multitude of historical sites and events. This includes: the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Non-Violent Social Change, the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, the Carter Center, the National Black Arts Festival, Paschal’s Restaurant, East Lake Golf Club, numerous conventions and home of some of the world’s most famous Black people including Presidential Medal winners.
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Making parking scarce and expensive is the best way to encourage people to walk, take transit and ride bicycles

By Guest Columnist MATTHEW GARBETT, a community activist who lives in Atlanta’s Adair Park

As I talk to Atlantans about transit, walkability, and parking – especially parking – I am often confronted with what I have come to call the “Tipping Point Theory of Transit.”

The theory, often summarized with a simple “We’re not there yet”, goes like this:

MARTA is a bare bones system that doesn’t go anywhere, and where it does go, it goes slowly. If we keep building the BeltLine, expanding the Streetcar, and growing MARTA, one day there will come a Tipping Point, when people will begin abandoning their cars for our finally completed system. Until we get there, however, we need to recognize reality and continue to build for cars, especially via parking.
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When dealing with addiction disorders on college campuses, we all benefit

By Guest Columnist TERESA WREN JOHNSTON, director of the Center for Young Adult Addiction and Recovery at Kennesaw State University and founding president of the Association of Recovery in Higher Education

In a world where mental health and substance use disorders get top billing only when a tragedy occurs to a celebrity, a famous athlete or a music superstar, it is easy to overlook the millions of people suffering unnoticed.

When the headlines read heroin overdose, death by suicide or famous entertainer enters treatment, we stand up and take notice; in fact, we can’t get enough.
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Habitat homes in historic West End should follow designated guidelines

By Guest Columnist KATHI WOODCOCKa resident of the West End Historic District for five years and member of the West End Preservation Committee

The Atlanta Urban Design Commission’s website states: “It is the mission of the City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance that any changes which occur to a designated property be in keeping with the historic character of the building or district.”

The West End Historic District, once known as White Hall, was established in 1835, and predates the City of Atlanta. West End is a vibrant community that takes pride in its 100-plus-year-old homes and designation on the National Register of Historic Places.
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Give Fulton board freedom to decide for itself – just like all Georgia counties

By Guest Columnist JOHN EAVESchairman of Fulton County’s Board of Commissioners since 2007.

Fayette. DeKalb. Cobb. Clayton. Gwinnett.

Each is one of Georgia’s 159 counties, and each one has been charged with making decisions on behalf of its citizens.  As such, each has a board of commissioners that have been asked by voters to provide government services ranging from public safety to libraries.

Each is responsible for managing emergency responses and gauging potential threats to public health.  Each has workers who take these tasks very seriously.
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Local leaders, weather experts seek to prepare Atlanta for climate change

By Guest Columnist GARRY HARRIS, president and CEO of HTS Enterprise Energy Solutions as well as president and CEO of Center for Sustainable Communities and the executive director of Emerald Cities Metro Atlanta.

Although we are now feeling the heat and humidity of summer, only a few months ago, Atlanta was brought to a virtual standstill by a rare snowstorm.

The storm was a glimpse of the challenges the region could see as a result of climate change causing extreme weather.
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Environmental justice offers a new way to engage Atlanta’s architects

By Guest Columnist GARFIELD L. PEART, an architect and sustainable business consultant, serves on AIA Atlanta’s board of directors

Architects have the power to take Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) “outside the building envelop” to transform communities by leading diverse design teams and community stakeholders to combat some of our most pressing social and public health issues in the metro area.

Environmental justice presents a unique opportunity for community leaders and public officials to engage Atlanta architects to address these challenges.

Now with all the pressing economic issues facing communities in metro Atlanta, you may wonder why we should focus on environmental justice and how architects can possibly make an impact in an area traditionally addressed by city planners, community development corporations and policy makers.
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Court of Appeals’ ruling protects Georgia’s marshes; let’s hope state leaders will do the same next year

By Guest Columnist JOHN SIBLEY, former president of the Georgia Conservancy and a concerned citizen

Georgians have many joys in common, but is any greater than the moment when our coastal marshes break into view? The majesty and vastness of our marshes touch something essential for the human spirit, lifting it every time.

And that moment also reminds us of our shared history and joint obligation to be the best stewards we can be of the natural wonders with which our state is so greatly blessed.
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