The City of Sandy Springs, Georgia, has proposed a pedestrian bridge across the Chattahoochee River between Morgan Falls Park (Sandy Springs) and National Park Service land adjacent to Hyde Farm Cobb County). There is a public information meeting on June 17, 2009 from 7-9 PM at the North Fulton Government Service Center, 7741 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs, GA 30350. If you can’t make it to the meeting, you may comment at their online survey.
Why should you support this bridge? Because you want to walk or bike across the river without being hit by a car.
If you are not familiar with the geography and road network of East Cobb and North Fulton Counties, then you might not be aware that it is difficult to move from northwest to southeast due to the Chattahoochee River. The Chattahoochee is the primary land feature in this area, forcing roads to conform to its meanderings. Between where US 41 crosses “the Chatt” near Cumberland Mall (just south of I-75) and where SR 140/Holcomb Bridge Road crosses at the Gwinnett County border, there are only three pedestrian- and bicycle- accessible crossings. This is a distance of 19 miles along the river. That’s an average of 3.8 miles between crossings and that’s along the river. It’s much farther by road.
To make matters worse, all of the crossings mentioned (including the ones at the ends) are pedestrian unfriendly, designed as arterial roads to maximize the amount of vehicular traffic that may flow across the river. I can state with personal experience that of the five crossings, I would hesitate to use two of them (Johnson Ferry and US 41), and downright refuse to use another two (Roswell Road and Holcomb Bridge Road).
The Morgan Falls Bridge would address these concerns by building a ped/bike bridge which is accessible through low-volume streets on both sides of the river. It would … (dammit, I’ve falling into passive engineer talk! I hate the way I’ve been trained to write like this) … This bridge will make it easier to bike and walk across the river between the parks. From my personal perspective, it will make it easier to travel between Cobb County and Atlanta by bicycle. My route of choice to cross the river on bike is Johnson Ferry Road. Johnson Ferry is unfortunately steep on both sides of the river. It is fun going down, but very much un-fun going up. The Morgan Falls bridge would have less terrain for me to enjoy and that’s fine. If I need to train on hills I’ll go to the mountains.
The Map above shows the location of Morgan Falls park, which is one end of the bridge or you can use this link to get the Google Earth KMZ file that I hacked together.
Comment online or show up at the public information meeting! There is a vocal minority (primarily Cobb County citizens) who oppose this bridge and from professional experience I can tell you that the squeaky wheel indeed gets greased. All too often, the people who show up and/or comment on transportation projects are those opposed, rather than those for. Help make this project an exception and support the growth of Atlanta Metro’s pedestrian and bicycle accessibility.
Here is a quote from the public affairs officer:
Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CRNRA) is working with The Sandy Springs Conservancy, City of Sandy Springs and Cobb County on preliminary plans to construct a bridge below Morgan Falls Dam. The bridge would be for pedestrian and possibly bicycle use only. It would be constructed as a free span bridge over the Chattahoochee River and would connect visitors to the Sandy Springs’ riverside parks at Morgan Falls with National Park Service land in Cobb County below Hyde Farm. Funding for the bridge has not yet been obtained, but the planning and public review process began in March 2009. In addition to the bridge, the plan will evaluate possible trail connections to Hyde Farm and the Johnson Ferry North unit of CRNRA