From the inception of the Buckhead Community Improvement District (CID) in 1999 through 2011, we have spent or obligated $36 million in taxes paid by the commercial property owners within the district. During the same period, we have attracted an additional $90 million in cash or right-of-way donations from other sources ($2.50 for every $1.00 spent). Our job is to optimize how those dollars are spent to make certain improvements within the district.
For almost everything we do, we are reacting to conditions, problems or events as we develop solutions, projects and programs. We are pleased with what we have done so far. But it would be far better if we could anticipate the future and plan to get ahead of what will likely occur through development. Being able to test “what if?” scenarios involving real estate development and infrastructure improvement would give us the best chance of maximizing the return on our investment.
The Buckhead CID recently selected Parsons Brinckerhoff to develop a transportation and land use model of the entire CID area.
Initially, the model will be used to evaluate a “complete streets” project on Peachtree Road, a major arterial serving the CID and Atlanta’s north side, between Maple Drive and Pharr Road. The model will allow BCID to test numerous hypothetical transportation and land use scenarios, such as the impact of adding a new roadway link, evaluating new development impacts, exploring signal timing optimization or transit route operations. North of this location, from Maple Drive to Peachtree-Dunwoody Road, Peachtree Road is already undergoing a “complete streets” transformation with the current construction scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2012.
Parsons Brinckerhoff will develop a working, state-of-the-art transportation model within four months that will contain all CID land use and traffic data. The model will allow us to evaluate both the area-wide (mesoscopic) and detailed (microscopic) impacts any future land use and roadway or transit improvements may have on the entire network. Simulations will be used to help identify traffic growth and changing land use impacts and make it easier for stakeholders to decide how to best allocate and prioritize transportation and other investments.
We could use a fortune teller, complete with crystal ball and Tarot cards, to give us some level of comfort regarding the millions of dollars we will be spending in the years ahead. I think this is a better choice.