December 2016

With the elections behind us my hope is that we can now turn our attention to the opportunities that await us as a result of the November ballot initiatives. For the City of Johns Creek residents, we were asked to consider whether or not we wanted to raise local taxes specifically dedicated to accelerate our 10-year Recreation and Parks Strategic Master Plan through a Parks Bond that was approved by our City Council last March.  In Fulton County, we were also faced with the decision on whether or not to accelerate congestion relief and other transportation-related projects through a county-wide Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax or TSPLOST.
 
Ultimately, our residents voted in favor of both referendums, which I believe will benefit our community well into the future.  It was especially important that both decisions were left to the voters, allowing them to participate in the process and to ensure that our community maintains our status as an exceptional city as it continues down the path of self-determination that it began a decade ago.
 
I believe that the passage of both the Parks Bond and TSPLOST will be truly transformational in our city.  This presents a great opportunity to do something truly innovative and iconic within our parks while aggressively addressing our growing traffic congestion challenges. 
 
Instead of waiting a decade or more to develop our five new parks and refurbish our four existing parks, we will now be able to accelerate the design and construction process and complete it in a much shorter timeframe.  Facing a diminishing inventory of available land in our city, it was also important to ensure that acquisition funds be available should an opportunity arise to purchase parcels that are of lasting value to our citizens.
 
The designs for the new parks are very impressive and I am excited about the idea that by the time we are finished with all the projects on our list, that every resident in our city will be well served. 
 
With TSPLOST, we are well ahead in terms of project planning that will address congestion relief, operations and safety projects, bridge improvements and replacements, maintenance, and pedestrian and bike path improvements.  As the funds become available in 2017 and the revenue from TSPLOST flows to our city, these measures will be first priority. 
 
The City Council has already prioritized the city’s list of projects to address every major artery in Johns Creek.
 
We worked closely with surrounding counties and municipalities as we developed our own TSPLOST project list to better coordinate and complement regional traffic congestion relief projects. For example, we collaborated with Gwinnett County and the Georgia Department of Transportation as we designed improvements along four of our major arteries of McGinnis Ferry Road, Abbotts Bridge Road, State Bridge Road, and Medlock Bridge Road.  Each road widening or restriping project is lined up with similar projects in Gwinnett County to help increase road capacity and improve the flow of traffic between our respective jurisdictions.
 
Johns Creek anticipates collecting approximately $82 million from TSPLOST, with an overwhelming majority of the funding dedicated toward congestion relief and safety projects.  As we began this process, the final proposed project designs will be presented to the public and the City Council for review before construction moves forward.
 
While I am encouraged by the potential ahead of us to tackle our traffic challenges, I am also aware that there is only so much pavement and road capacity we can add.  We must be willing to work together to reduce the number of single occupancy vehicles on the road by embracing and implementing viable transportation options or we will ultimately fail in our efforts to effectively manage traffic congestion in the long-term.
 
As we continue to move forward with our various projects, we will continue to identify the latest technologies and innovations to leverage our ability to better serve our growing populations.
 
As the saying goes, we are all in this together, so, along the way I encourage you to remain engaged with your elected officials and play an active role in the development of our respective communities.  Your voice does matter and you can make a difference by participating, so please stay involved.