Issue 14.41 | Aug. 19, 2014
ABOUT US GwinnettForum.com is a twice-weekly online community commentary for exploring pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga., Aug. 19, 2014 -- In the summer of 2014, the 700th traffic signal within Gwinnett County was turned on at the intersection of Georgia Highway 124 (Braselton Highway) and Lena Carter Road.
The Gwinnett County Department of Transportation (GCDOT) is responsible for the day-to-day operation and maintenance of those traffic signals. Part of those activities is developing and implementing the signal timings that determine when vehicles will get a green light and for how long.
Improved signal timing and coordination offer one of the most cost-effective and quickly-implementable ways to reduce congestion and improve traffic flow. Recognizing that, the GCDOT has implemented signal timing plans on the all the major roads in the county. Some roads like Jimmy Carter Boulevard, U.S. Highway 78 and Pleasant Hill Road have had coordinated signal timings for nearly three decades.
As the county's population increased and roads were widened to handle increased traffic, county traffic signal engineers would regularly conduct projects to update the signal timings. Starting in the mid 90s, engineering consultants were hired to assist with a countywide retiming project that looked at all the major roads to update the timings. Since then, GCDOT continued with regular updates and corridor wide retiming when needed. Additional corridors, such as sections of Old Peachtree Road and Old Norcross Road, have had continuous coordination plans to progress traffic as volumes grew.
The goal of a timing optimization project is to improve traffic flow on the main road. It starts with collecting the existing traffic volume data and utilizing traffic analysis software to develop the timing plans for each time of day.
Improved traffic flow results in a reduced travel time for each driver. The final report compares the travel time and delay within the system before and after implementation of the new timing plans. Reductions of delay and travel time are documented to quantify the magnitude of the improvement in service. A benefit/cost analysis is conducted to quantify the improvements of the new timing plans.
One key component to good signal timing is to have the equipment in good working condition. For that reason, Gwinnett County has had a regular preventative maintenance program since the 1990s. It consists of inspecting every traffic signal for proper operation, correcting malfunctioning equipment and issuing work orders for any problems that can't be corrected quickly. The goal is to conduct these inspections twice yearly using both County staff and signal contractors.
Another valuable tool is the Traffic Control Center (TCC). The county has had a TCC since the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. In 2007, the TCC was moved from the Justice and Administration Center to a new facility allowing for a major expansion to better utilize the expanding Intelligent Transportation System communications network that continues to be built along the County's major roads.
Today county staff can monitor 420 of the 700 traffic signals in real time and perform regular operation and timing checks. The ITS network also includes nearly 200 traffic monitoring cameras. Now a timing engineer is able to check multiple locations in a short amount of time, allowing a quicker response to timing requests from citizens. This can range from adjusting the timing to reduce the delay from a malfunctioning vehicle sensor at an intersection, to changing the timing at multiple intersections during the afternoon peak period.
AUG. 19. 2014 -- One of the great benefits of letters to the editor is that we can be bombarded with ideas generated by people from many different disciplines, to be cast upon the public arena for consideration. The ideas can be from the great minds of the world, but can be significant constructive thought from even the Average Joe.
GwinnettForum thanks all its letter-writers for providing us with food for thought. They help make this a forum of ideas and innovation, and significantly contribute to the public discussion on a plethora of topics.
Recently we saw a short letter to the editor in the New York Times that stood out for its clarity of reasoning, and should be given wide consideration. It was from Gordon Hochberg, of Harrison, N.Y., which we quote it its entirety:
* * * * *
Well said, Mr. Hochberg. His letter, though short, comes to the point quickly, and even gives background of why this would make a sensible possibility.
Those of us in Metro Atlanta remember the great preparation and expenditure of money for Atlanta to host the 1996 Games. Think of all the time, effort and money it cost to build all the different venues, often with the ballyhoo that such structures and sites would eventually become well-known places for competition in the years to come. It hasn't always worked out that way.
We need to look no further than the only venue that was even partially in Gwinnett, the 26-acre Tennis Venue at Stone Mountain Park. Built to seat 7,000 spectators with the idea that it could become a site for major tennis tournaments well into the future, instead it sat empty for nearly 10 years, and is virtually empty today. Its only use now is as offices for the Evermore Community Improvement District. Most of the sprawling outdoor venue has grown into weeds. Its stadium seats do not even get used for concerts, as once suggested.
And in other venues around Atlanta, what was envisioned simply never has come to fruition. Even the massive re-configuration of the main Olympic Stadium in downtown Atlanta into the Atlanta Braves stadium is now threatened with being torn down, as the Braves plan to move to Cobb County. Other 1996 Olympic venue sites are in under-use around eth Metro Atlanta area.
Should the Olympic Games be returned to Athens, permanent sites could be used every four years without the frantic construction of venues in cities awarded the Olympics. It would also help rejuvenate that economically-depressed Grecian economy. For each country's Olympic site, there is high cost to the host city, as in Atlanta, with hopes of using the venues for ages, yet often that is simply not the case.
great sums on permanent facilities in Greece for all Olympic sports is
Having the games in the same place adds stability and more distinction to the sports. This is an idea that is well before its time, but one we hope can grow and prosper.
Thank you, Gordon Hochberg, for your great idea for the benefits of future Olympics.
Professional healthcare programs leading to doctorate degrees in Pharmacy (PharmD) and Osteopathic Medicine (DO) are offered at Georgia Campus - Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (Ga.-PCOM) in Suwanee Ga. A graduate degree at the master's level may be earned in Biomedical Sciences. Ga.-PCOM, which opened in 2005, is a private, not-for-profit branch campus of the fully accredited Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, a multi-program institution with a 115 year tradition of educational excellence.
Editor, the Forum:
It has been a little over a week now since many people took the time to spend the evening with us in celebration of Sugar Hill/s 75th Anniversary as a city. Quite the party it was. The weather cooperated nicely and it turned out to be a delightful day and evening.
hope all attending had a wonderful time as we truly enjoyed hosting everyone.
All three musical acts were talented and entertaining. The Haley and Alexis
Band, Andy Velo and the Bacon Brothers each provided a memorable musical
performance. We are extremely proud of our City and even more passionate
about its bright future.
construction will house a number of public facilities including a new
400-500 seat community theater, a gymnasium and upper level walking track
along with an indoor lap pool. The theater and gymnasium will be wrapped
with retail, restaurant, and commercial office space on multiple levels.
The entire project will sit atop a 100 unit parking garage which will
overlook our amphitheater We also anticipate another major private sector
downtown development project which is expected to be completed in late
2015 or early 2016 and will accommodate additional commercial, retail,
restaurant and housing inventory to our downtown.
Extends dialogue concerning Israeli-Palestine situation in Gaza
Editor, the Forum:
Thanks for allowing me to reply to a letter written by George C. Wilson regarding the recent events in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza. Let me begin by reminding your readers that Hamas was founded to "liberate Palestine, including modern-day Israel and to establish an Islamic state in the area that is now Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip." Hamas opposes the recognition of Israel and is committed to its destruction. Under this context, it is unreasonable to accuse the current, democratically elected government of Israel, as being opposed to peace or against a two-state solution. Israel's actions against Hamas are, quite literally, a struggle for survival as a nation.
Mr. Wilson compares Israeli actions in Gaza to Nazi's treatment of Jews in pre-World War II Germany. This statement is not only disingenuous, it is ludicrous. Rather it is Hamas who declares in their Charter their intent to kill all Jews.
The blockade that Mr. Wilson references is actually a trade embargo that was put into place only after Hamas came to power; one year after Israel unconditionally removed its civilian population and military forces from the territory. Israel allows basic goods, food, humanitarian supplies, and fuel into Gaza on a regular basis. This is no ghetto or concentration camp, as Mr. Wilson declares. He neglects to mention that Gaza shares a border with Egypt, which also employs a strategic trade embargo against Hamas in Gaza. Hamas' true intentions were exposed with the offensive tunnels into Israeli territory, tunnels that were built with money and supplies intended for building civilian infrastructure, rather than terrorist tunnels.
letter makes clear his anti-Jewish views by linking Jewish money and lobbying
to instability in the Middle East, focusing solely on Israel and ignoring
the atrocities in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and elsewhere. Finally, Mr. Wilson
accuses Israel of "giving up the moral high ground" when it
is Hamas who uses human shields, stores weapons in U.N. facilities and
launches attacks from civilian areas, including schools and hospitals.
Rant, rave, send us a letter
Downtown Development Authority is hosting this celebration of the holiday
season in Historic Norcross on Saturday, December 6. Six homes in the
historic area have been signed up.
Volunteers are needed to participate on the organizing committee to lead several areas. The Authority is looking for:
Overall, the production of this event will require approximately 300 volunteers the week of the Tour and the "Big Day."
New scam involves making people feel they missed jury duty
Community Improvement District reports that the Gwinnett County Sheriff's
Office continues to receive reports from citizens who have fallen victim
to telephone scams. Although this matter is under active investigation,
Sheriff Butch Conway wants to ensure that the public is made aware of
the current phone scam reports to reduce the likelihood of citizens being
victimized. In particular, the scam often involves senior citizens.
of Lawrenceville has announced the winners of the seventh annual Golden
Hammer Awards program. The city honors local businesses for their contribution
to the revitalization efforts and growth throughout the community.
Hammer Award Recipients:
"If you are a subscriber to Netflix or other streaming movie services, here are two series we have seen recently. Both series are well done. Salamander is a 12-part series set in present-day Belgium with plotters seeking to disrupt that entire economy, stemming from the chaos during and following World War II. Though in another language, with subtitles, this never seems to interfere with the quick-moving action. Cedar Cove is a much lighter, happier series set in Washington state's Puget Sound area, with stunning scenery from that area. Though it's much like a soap opera, it moves quickly and shows another window on life in these Untied States that we in the South know little about." -- eeb
(Continued from previous edition)
Franklin Raper made another mark on southern thought with his most important work, The Tragedy of Lynching (1933). In it he focused on the unusually high number of lynchings (21) that had occurred in the United States in 1930, the first full year of the Great Depression. Twenty took place throughout the South, including six in Georgia.
Using personal interviews and other research techniques, Raper (left) concluded that most of the lynchings occurred where community life was weak. (Other critics had argued that lynch mobs came from the South's more close-knit localities.) In addition he found that only one-sixth of the 3,724 lynchings that had taken place from 1889 through 1930 arose from charges of rape. Because its tone was sufficiently restrained, The Tragedy of Lynching received considerable praise throughout the South and became an important weapon for the anti-lynching campaign.
As to its overall significance, historian Daniel Singal commented, "Perhaps no other social science book written about the South during [the 1930s] received as much serious attention from southerners, and perhaps none has had a greater impact on changing southern behavior." For Raper this productive period in his life also involved a part-time job teaching sociology at Agnes Scott College in Decatur. He took the opportunity to show his all-white, all-female students the significance of the surrounding racial climate, but he went too far for parents and alumni when he took his classes on an overnight trip to the all-black Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama.
Bowing to the angry criticism that resulted from his controversial actions, Raper resigned from Agnes Scott in 1939 and returned to Greene County. There, he observed the effects of the Unified Farm Program, which, under the direction of the Farm Security Administration, attempted to improve health and farming conditions for local tenants. His continuing research resulted in two more publications, Sharecroppers All (1941) and Tenants of the Almighty (1943).
The former book, co-written with Ira De A. Reid, aroused considerable controversy in the South because it stressed that the economic exploitation of the sharecropper system was evident in all sectors of the southern economy, industrial as well as agricultural. Such exploitation indicated that all southerners, in one way or another, suffered the fate of the sharecropper. Tenants of the Almighty served as a sequel to Preface to Peasantry in its continuing emphasis on Greene County and the federal measures that were taken to speed the county's recovery from the troubles of the Great Depression.
Raper's later publications concerned life in Japan, Taiwan, Pakistan, and other parts of Asia. He died in 1979.
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Creative ways to harvest and grow Social Security benefits through retirement is the theme of an August 19 program at 9 a.m. at The 1818 Club in Duluth. The Community Foundation of Northeast Georgia is putting on this program, sponsored by Sugarloaf Wealth Management LLC. Maximize your Social Security income stream with significant tools, such as sound education, good planning and the application of smart decision-making tools.
(NEW) Chamber Tour of the proposed Atlanta Media Center Campus at Interstate 85 and Jimmy Carter Boulevard, is set for Thursday, August 21, at 11:30 a.m. The 100+ acre mixed-use development is expected to bring the highest budget films in the country to Gwinnett, providing local jobs and increased economic activity. Speaking will be Scott Condra, president of Jacoby Development, Inc., who is developing the campus. Registration is here.
Gwinnett Police Job Fair, Saturday, August 23, from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Gwinnett Police Training Center, 854 Winder Highway in Lawrenceville. The department seeks candidates for police officer and E-911 Communication positions. Interested applicants are encouraged to apply before attending the fair on the Police Employment webpage.
(NEW)Health and Wellness Fair on the Sugar Hill City Hall lawn, Saturday, August 24, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Free group fitness classes, physical, mental and financial wellness information, plus vendors and blood donations accepted. For more information, call 770 945 6718.
(NEW)Fall Vegetable Gardening class, Wednesday, August 27, at noon at the Gwinnett County Extension Office, 750 Perry Street in Lawrenceville. This class will show you how to start a fall vegetable garden and the various types of vegetables that you can grow in it. There is no charge, but pre-registration is required by August 25. To register, contact Timothy Daly at 678-377-4010.
Forum for 2014: Thursday, October 16, 7: 30 a.m. until 1 p.m.
Studio Movie Grill, Duluth. Topics include maximizing re-development,
financing and opportunities through Public-Private Partnerships. Keynote
speaker will be Ellen Durham Jones of Georgia Tech, talking on "Sustaining
vibrant communities." To
register, click here.
MORE EEB PERSPECTIVE
Gwinnett Forum publisher Elliott Brack suggests that Gwinnett County needs a long-range list of continuing objectives for improving the county. Read more.
GwinnettForum.com is a twice-weekly online community commentary for exploring pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.
© 2001-2014, Gwinnett Forum.com is Gwinnett County's online community forum for commentary that explores pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.