Tag Archives: planning

Valdosta Urbanized Area

vldurbanarea.jpg Another interesting thing from the Valdosta Transit Public Information Meeting was I was reminded of the Valdosta Urbanized Area. As you can see by the map, it extends all the way up Bemiss Road through Moody Air Force Base into Berrien County. This came up in the context of bus lines. Valdosta can run a bus to Moody, because Moody is in the Valdosta Urbanized Area.

In a larger context, local public officials often wonder aloud how they can keep landowners from selling out and developers from developing all over the county. Well, they can’t actually prevent that. (Except they already have in the Moody Exclusion Zone immediately around the AFB, but that’s not the point; in general they can’t.) But they can encourage developers not to go for cheap land way out on the edges of the county, and instead buy land near existing services (water, wastewater, busses, etc.). Cheap hookups, expedited permits, encouragement by local municipalities; these things can all help steer development.

Lowndes County and the city of Valdosta could even designate a Preferred Development Corridor and steer development there. It already exists: Valdosta up Bemiss Road towards Moody, plus the area in and around Valdosta, especially along I-75. What’s missing is official and unofficial encouragement for developers to develop there.

In addition, I keep hearing people saying there’s no farming left in Lowndes County. That’s just not true. It’s not like it was 50 years ago, sure, but there are people actively farming, and even seeking new land to rent. South Carolina promotes farming as its growth business. Lowndes County is big enough to promote both industry and farming.

Open Letter to Commisioner Lee

To: Richard C. Lee, District 2
Cc: Rodney N. Casey, Chairman
Cc: J. Edgar Roberts, District 1
Cc: G. Robert Carter, District 3
Cc: Jason Davenport, County Planner
Lowndes County Board of Commissioners
325 West Savannah Avenue
Valdosta, GA 31601


From: John S. Quarterman
residence 6565 Quarterman Road
3338 Country Club Rd. #L336
Valdosta, GA 31605
10 November 2008

Commissioner Lee,

Thank you for meeting with us Friday. That was a good beginning to a conversation, much like I had hoped we would have after you attended our neighborhood meeting of June 5 in which we requested further options and my letter of August 7 in which I also requested further options regarding Quarterman Road. Now we’re talking!

Quarterman Road Frontage Owned by Opponents of Clearing and PavingI understand that there has been some confusion as to who wants to do what with Quarterman Road. This is why we have clarified neighborhood opinion with the petition of 26 October showing that a majority of households on the road and the owners of a majority of the road frontage do not want the road paved, at least not using the current plan the county is pursuing of clearing a 60 foot right of way and tearing down the tree canopy.

Apparently there has also been some confusion as to what the state requires the county to do. I hear that some time in the past the county was planning to use state money to improve Quarterman Road. If so, I see how that money could have come with requirements from the state. That would explain why the current county paving plan, which was originally drawn up many years ago, looks more like a state highway than a rural local county road. However, as I am sure you are aware, SPLOST VI is a local tax, not state money, so there are no such requirements along with it. I confirmed this with the District Engineer with GDOT. He tells me that the state makes no requirements on the county as to what to do with Quarterman Road, which the state classifies as functional class 9, a rural local road. Continue reading

Cincinnati (and Valdosta) Streetcars

Here's another form of transit that could nicely complement busses and commuter rail: streetcars. The New York Times mentions several cities that have reimplemented streetcar systems. Pictured here is a potential plan for yet another city: Austin, Texas:


As a Cincinnati streetcar proponent says:

“We have to plan for the future,” he said. “I believe in 10 years, we would ask, ‘Why didn’t we do this?’ It will be 10 times more expensive, and the cost of gas will be unaffordable.”

Downtowns Across the U.S. See Streetcars in Their Future, By BOB DRIEHAUS, New York Times, Published: August 13, 2008

Valdosta likes to be visible nationally (TitleTown), so think about this:
After looking into streetcar systems in Seattle, Tacoma, Wash., and Charlotte, Mr. Dohoney became convinced that they spur growth. “Cincinnati has to compete with other cities for investment,” he said. “We have to compete for talent and for place of national prominence.”
Yet that could be growth without sprawl:
[streetcars] serve to shrink residents’ everyday world of work, shopping and entertainment by bringing services and businesses to one area.
That's a feature attractive not only to city dwellers, but also to us plowboys out here in the country who like to go to the city but don't want the city coming to us. Valdosta used to have a streetcar system. I don't remember it in use, but I do remember seeing remnants of its rails in a few streets. Streetcars would probably be more expensive to implement than commuter rail, because tracks would have to be laid and automobile traffic would have to be organized around it. Commuter rail using existing freight tracks would be easier to do first. But now while Valdosta is planning ahead would be a good time to see about fitting streetcars into the plan.