District 2 Newsletter

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What's New in 2?
Dear friends and neighbors,

I hope you're all having a great week and looking forward to a happy Thanksgiving tomorrow. This month's newsletter provides an update on the City's efforts to address ongoing street racing and an exciting update on Downtown Decides projects which have begun breaking ground! Finally, it's been a busy month for socially-distanced site visits across District 2, some of which I highlight below. 

As always, my newsletter is just a snapshot of what our office is working on every day. To learn more, I invite you to follow me on Twitter.

Construction Underway!

Downtown Decides! Breaks Ground

As you know from past newsletters, we have been hard at work making sure that the 17 projects you voted for as part of the Downtown Decides! participatory budgeting initiative are completed in a timely manner. 

Last week, we were thrilled to unveil the first two completed builds: wheelchair accessible crossings at both Peachtree St and Williams St (pictured) as well as Ted Turner Dr. and Williams St.

These ideas were submitted by local resident Tony McCarthy, who had this to say when asked why he chose them:

"My wife and I love walking to stay active. Several years ago while taking my granddaughter for a walk in the stroller, I noticed several intersections that didn’t have ramps on the curbs and we were forced to pick up the stroller to cross the street. I immediately thought that this would be impossible for someone in a wheelchair. When Amir introduced “Downtown Decides” at an ADNA meeting, I decided to submit the idea. It’s refreshing to see the city solicit ideas from the community and then take quick action to make it easier for people with disabilities. This was a great program and I would really like to see programs like this continue. The people that live and work in the community can quickly tell you where improvements can be made."

Stay tuned for more updates as we concurrently strive to finish the other 15 builds. As always, a special thanks to both the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District as well as the city's Department of Transportation for being such great partners in this effort. 

Together we are working to deliver on our promise to you -- to show that you have a voice in government and that you can trust the city to follow through on its word. 


Street Racing Update

New Legislation Passes Council
Since I took office in January 2018, few challenges have been quite as frustrating as street racing. The issue is a persistent quality of life detriment and safety hazard. It has disrupted and endangered thousands of District 2 residents and many others across the city. I take this issue very seriously. Unfortunately, legislative solutions are not as readily at hand as we might like on Council. 

Yet, we are making every effort to bolster existing laws where possible. On November 2nd, we passed a bill, which says that if you are arrested for a street racing-related crime you can not immediately bond out of jail until you have gone before a judge, in no more than 48 hours of being booked into jail. This creates an additional deterrent complementing existing laws that prohibit reckless driving, laying drag, etc. 

Of course, no laws are useful unless they are enforced. I'm working weekly with APD and ATL DOT to improve enforcement and outcomes. 


Zoom Town Hall

A Great Conversation with Constituents
On Monday evening, I hosted a virtual Town Hall for Downtown residents. We heard presentations from the ATLDOT Commissioner, as well as representatives from APD Zone 5, the Atlanta Hotel Council, and Downtown Improvement District -- all of whom then participated in a lively Q&A. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the area in unique ways. The hustle and bustle of activity from tourists is down. Many office workers and Georgia State students are operating remotely. As a result, the small businesses that rely on this activity for revenue continue to feel the impact. Meanwhile, residents have expressed concerns that service levels have dipped too far. 

Those who attended the meeting asked for the return of on-street parking enforcement and a more consistent response to reports of club-related noise and violence. They asked for more on-street parking spaces dedicated to quick turnarounds for pickups and deliveries.

The presenters acknowledged that 2020 has been a challenge but has also presented unexpected silver linings. For example, ATLDOT Commissioner Josh Rowan noted that mobility infrastructure projects are moving faster with fewer vehicles on the streets. And APD Zone 5 Commander Major Prenzinna Spann and Jennifer Ball of the Downtown Improvement District spoke about new local partnerships created in the wake of the pandemic that are helping those experiencing homelessness connect faster with the shelter and services they need.

Around the District

Despite the pandemic, my office staff and I continue to meet with constituents virtually and through local site visits in which everyone masks up and maintains social distance. Here are just a few of the ways we served the District 2 community in November:

  • We joined Inman Park neighbors and ATLDOT to look at ways to slow traffic on Lake Ave. and increase pedestrian crossing safety.
  • I had a productive meeting with representatives of the Flatiron Building to address their concerns about safety in the vicinity of the Broad Street Boardwalk.
  • I addressed board members of the Midtown Neighbors’ Association and the Old Fourth Ward Business Association.
  • We joined Trees Atlanta and Poncey-Highland neighbors as they planted more than 40 magnolias, crepe myrtles, and ginkos along Blue Ridge and Linwood Avenues (pictured). While there, I also checked out the new sidewalks and curb cuts along the streets, funded through District 2’s Renew Atlanta Local Projects budget.
Transparency in Action:
September 2020 Expenses
You should know how your government spends its money. Below are expenses incurred by the District 2 office since the start of the fiscal year, which began July 1.
Staff Salaries & Benefits
Provided for July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021: $277,146
Spent through September 30: $68,296.87
Office Expenses
Provided for July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021: $51,000
Spent through September 30: $8,980.86

Itemized Office Expenses September 2020
Verizon: $42.14
Del’s Trophy: $315
Electric Peach Films: $2,304
Susannah Darrow Consulting (Arts Advisor, Q3 + Q4): $3,000
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