Welcome to the first issue of the year! After a bit of a lull during the holidays, we are getting right back into the swing of things with what should be a contentious first Commissioners meeting on January 10th, the launch of our first city-focused group on January 14th, and our strategic kickoff meeting on January 22nd.

In our last issue, I shared my top 10 things I want to see in Cobb County and someone asked what I think the chances are of each thing happening.

Here’s the list again with what I believe the odds are that we’ll see it happen.

  1. Progress towards a comprehensive transit referendum in 2024: 100%
  2. More smart, “missing middle” housing throughout the county: 25% that we will see zoning changes
  3. Developing a sustainability or resilience plan for the future: 70%
  4. Chattahoochee Riverlands Construction Starts: 95%
  5. More multi-use trails and bike lanes throughout the county: 100% (Could always be more miles…)
  6. Improve transit experience NOW: 60%
  7. Smyrna launches local circulator service, more Braves transit to follow? 80%
  8. Parking minimums are relaxed or abolished: 15%
  9. Higher engagement from younger, more diverse voices at county meetings: 30%
  10. Cobb becomes more competitive and aggressive with federal grants programs: 40%

Progress towards the above at the county level starts tomorrow with the first Commissioners Meeting…

Commissioners Meeting Preview

So the biggest question will be what happens to Jerica Richardson? Will she be on the dais? Is she able to vote? Carol Brown from Canton Road Neighbors attended the hearing last week and this was her report:

Both maps went into effect on January 1 2023, and it was presumed that a Special Election would be needed for the now-vacant District 2 since Richardson still resided in the (previous) district. Until we learn what the Court order will be regarding the TRO, it appears that both maps are temporarily in effect and Commissioner Richardson still represents District 2. If the TRO is not granted, the case will still be heard fairly soon based on comments from Judge Harris. It is also likely that the decision of the court would be appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court.

Here is a link to the agenda for tomorrow’s meeting. Highlights include approval for a rehab of the recycling center to a mini CHaRM facility, approvals for engineering services for the South Cobb and Marietta Bus Transfer Centers, a $1 million donation to the new Gritters library, and some sidewalk projects moving forward.

Here’s a preview of the agenda:

  • 3 Public Hearings: Engineering Contracts, Contracts for Ongoing Sewer Extensions, and a review of a pool and home being built on the Chattahoochee River
  • Consent Agenda: 21 items
    • Water System: 4 items
    • Transportation: 3 items (one is approval of engineering services for Noonday Creek Trail Pedestrian Bridge over 41)
    • Senior Services: 1 item (accepting donation for Meals on Wheels program)
    • Library: 1 item (approving library card holders can go to Smith-Gilbert Gardens)
    • Sustainability: 1 item (approval for rehabilitation of Recycling Center and converting it to a new Mini-CHaRM facility)
    • Fire: 1 item for Capital Expenses
    • Community Development: 3 items, 2 related to license approvals and 1 related to an annexation
  • Regular Agenda:
    • Library: 1 item ($1 million donation to the new Gritters Library, MDJ article explains the cost overruns)
    • Transportation (15 items)
      • Multiple items for road construction, bridge repair, drainage repairs, and traffic signal installations
      • Firm selected for transit planning, engineering, and environmental services for Marietta Transfer Center (Kimley Horn)
      • Firm selected for transit planning, engineering, and environmental services for South Cobb Transfer Center (Kimley Horn)
      • Authorize advertising for and conduct a public hearing for the Cumberland Loop project (these are pedestrian improvements around Cumberland including Cumberland Sweep)
  • 21 Appointments on oversight and advisory boards

I’ll be attending tomorrow’s meeting which starts at 9AM. Let me know if you plan on attending!

Create Austell to Launch this Saturday, January 14th

A Better Cobb is excited to announce the launch of Create Austell and we want you to join us to celebrate! Create Austell is a social group focused on bringing people together to discuss Housing/Zoning, Mobility, Sustainability, and Arts & Culture. Austell is truly a blank slate and this group will come together to advocate for improvements and progress.

Join us as we celebrate our launch and discuss the future of Austell! The event is this Saturday, January 14th at 4PM at Austell CoWork. RSVP on Facebook or register on Eventbrite!

Read the Cobb County Courier’s article about the group here!

A Better Cobb 2023 Kickoff & Strategy Planning

On Sunday, January 22nd, A Better Cobb will host our first event! This will be a casual meet and greet where we’ll come together and discuss ideas on how we can advocate for better transit, sustainability, safer streets, and housing/zoning.

We’ll break off into four groups discussing these topics and at the end of the event, we’ll have focused advocacy and upcoming events to rally around! If you’re interested in being involved in one of these groups from the ground level, you have to be there!

Each group will answer the following questions:

  • Policy: What do we want to see in the near future?
  • Community: How do we come together to advocate for it?
  • Events: What is our schedule for events to bring people together?

The 2023 kickoff event will be at Schoolhouse Brewing on January 22nd at 2PM. Here’s the Facebook link to RSVP! See you there!

News & Updates

MARTA’s General Manager was asked specifically about expanding into Cobb and he gave the perfect answer:

Cobb County used to have an interurban rail line between Atlanta and Marietta that was removed 75 years ago. What would it take to run service into Cobb County and other areas that traditionally have said “no?”

It really comes down to generational thought. It comes down to people recognizing that the way we’re going in those areas that don’t have transit, it’s just not sustainable. …MARTA’s got a role to play too. The more attractive we can make our system, the more of this kind of thing we can do, the more attractive it’ll appear to those that traditionally don’t want transit. But as we look around the world, those world-class cities, …they enjoy and embrace public transit, and we’re going to get there.

Microtransit continues to see success and expansion in Buckhead

Veronica Miller, 60, was struck and killed by a car while walking her dog Saturday morning near KSU.

The view of the street where the pedestrian was supposedly killed.
Location where it occurred. Very close proximity to the highway and near KSU.

New York Times did a featured story on “Widening Highways doesn’t fix traffic, why do we keep doing it?”

MARTA and Deputy General Manager Josh Rowan suddenly part ways

An oldie but a goodie, 25 simple resolutions to make your city better

Atlanta continues progress towards ebike rebate program

Cobb delegation gave remarks about many topics, including transit. Republican Ed Setzler came our strongly against transit.

“The need is interconnectedness across the county. Transit is a profound waste of money in Cobb County as (Chairwoman Lisa) Cupid’s proposing it — full stop. It is transportation nonsense. It’s supported by a development community, perhaps, some that want to create a real estate play around it, but it doesn’t serve the needs of Cobb’s citizens. The face of need in Cobb County is not fixed guideway transit,” he said.

Setzler later added, “What you see is, you see an activist Democratic Party — with Chairman Cupid as their mouthpiece — that wants a one penny sales tax because a one penny sales tax for transit is the progressive thing to do. And they haven’t figured out what they want to spend it on, because there’s no viable projects on which to spend it.”

Unfortunately, the topic didn’t come up during the interview with the Democratic delegation. Shocking.

And that’s it for this issue! Remember, join the discussion in our Facebook group or on Twitter!