City Council Takes First Steps on Sidewalk Ordinance

by Jack White

Repaired_SidewalkAs many people know, VHCA and Virginia-Highland property owners made a tremendous investment in sidewalks over the last 2.5 years. This was possible because neighbors and VHCA stepped up financially, and because VHCA was able to bundle over 200 improvements to move the repairs through the city. To this day it is very difficult for individual citizens to repair sidewalks cost-effectively.  A daunting wall of permitting red tape is only the first challenge.

The project benefited from a city program that provided sidewalk repairs for about a third of the city’s actual cost, making it a good value for property owners. That program is no longer available, but the process of funding and delivering the repairs focused City Hall’s attention on sidewalk repairs in a new way. While Virginia-Highland still needs more sidewalk work, the improvement is noticeable.

Along the way, VHCA, including Peggy Berg, the Board member who chairs the Safety Committee, got deeply involved in the nuts and bolts in the political challenges involved in improving our sidewalk system citywide. While the neighborhood repair program has ended, the advocacy campaign continues.

In mid-July our City Council unanimously revised the applicable ordinance in several important ways. For the first time, the city has appropriated funds directly for sidewalk repairs, and the Public Works Department is now required to ‘prioritize’ where the greatest needs are. Peggy’s op-ed on the topic in last week’s AJC is linked here.

The initial levels of funding are modest, but there’s now a better chance that monies will be spent on making our sidewalks safe and usable. Over time, this should reduce sidewalk injuries that lead people to sue the city.  Settlements of such suits have cost the city several million dollars in the last decade, a fact that was not lost on anyone.  An ounce of prevention can save a lot of money.

An immediate task for Public Works under the revised Ordinance is the creation of a prioritization policy, which (in our view) has to be based on a formal sidewalk inventory if repairs are to be planned objectively.  Some readers may recall the work of Georgia Tech Civil Engineering professor (and VaHi resident) Randy Guensler and his (then) graduate students Alice Grossman and Zan Frackelton. In 2013 they developed an innovative wheelchair-mounted camera with vibration sensors that videoed and measured the roughness of sidewalks.  Whether those results – they have examined about half the city – and that system (or others) are used, a formal inventory and approach to sidewalk management will be critical to thoughtful and effective spending by the city.

The revised law also did not delete the section that formally makes individual owners responsible for their abutting sidewalks.  This archaic, unenforced, (and unenforceable) provision remains at odds with existing city practice and the direction of this new ordinance. It needs to be removed, if only for clarity.

These limitations notwithstanding, it’s worth noting that even this first step took a huge effort from Councilman Mary Norwood and faced resistance from the administration.  (Please note that Alex Wan’s initial hesitation on this issue concerned the city’s ability to fund the commitments made in the legislation. He  supported the final draft as a financially responsible start.)

The director of the pedestrian advocacy group PEDS (an organization to which VHCA has donated for many years, and still does) was disappointed in the final version, calling it insufficient.  (Sally Flocks’ op-ed may be read here.)  Peggy agrees that much more is needed, but she argued very effectively at Council that passing this bill at least (and at last) put the camel’s nose in the tent. The creation of a framework for future funding and moving toward formal policies were good first steps.

Now we – this ‘we’ is neighborhoods, NPUs, and citizens – need to keep pushing on funding and implementation.  It’s particularly important that this program remain a viable and visible item in next year’s municipal budget. On that, almost everyone will agree.

Finally, that VaHi got so many sidewalks repaired was a result of Peggy’s doggedness, the willingness of several successive VHCA Boards to spend (a lot of) money on the matter, support from Councilmember Wan, and deep enthusiasm and financial support for the outcomes from local citizens.  The enthusiasm of our own residents to get things done now showed that such repairs were quite practical, especially if approached in an organized manner, and made it a lot harder for City Hall to keep burying the issue.

From a poly sci perspective, our sidewalks are a good example of how effective fundraising, planning, and a targeted public effort can make a real difference.  From a practical perspective, it immediately made our neighborhood more walkable for us and our visitors. In even the most optimistic estimate, it will take the City a very long time to start making repairs on their own initiatives in our community.

In the larger context, it is fundamentally unfair that even the partial successes VaHi has enjoyed required a funded civic association, enthusiastic citizens, and the unusual focus and determination that Peggy displayed. Safe, walkable sidewalks are not just for kids and seniors and those who can afford to pay more – every community in Atlanta needs and deserves them. Let’s make it happen.

Jack White is a member of the VHCA Planning Committee and Board.


PEDS to Host July 30 Sidewalk Maintenance Forum

DSC_0009Passing along the following from our friends at PEDS. Unfortunately, this meeting is the same night as the BeltLine overlay district meeting for the VaHi area so you’ll have to pick your poison. The VHCA plans to have representation at both meetings.

The Atlanta City Council is considering an ordinance that will dramatically change the way sidewalk repairs are funded in Atlanta. If approved, the Public Works Department may no longer require property owners to pay for repairs to sidewalks that abut their property.

To give ourselves time to learn more about the proposed ordinance and its likely impact, we have rescheduled the Sidewalk Maintenance Forum.

When: Weds, July 30, 6:30 – 8:00 PM

Where: First Presbyterian Church, 1328 Peachtree Street (Half-block from Arts Center MARTA Station)

Please join us to learn more about the proposed policy changes and bond referendum, as well as innovative funding solutions other cities have adopted. You’ll also hear from Todd Fulk, who will tell us about low-cost ways other cities are using to eliminate tripping hazards.

If approved, the proposed ordinance will be a big step forward. Yet the ordinance doesn’t allocate tax dollars to sidewalk repairs, so much more is needed. Learn how you can make that happen.


Atlanta City Council Utilities Committee Schedules Study Session on Changes to Sidewalk Policy

DSC_0009By: Jack White, VHCA Planning Committee

The City Utilities Committee began consideration this past Tuesday July 15th of a bill introduced by nine members that would place legal responsibility for sidewalk repairs and maintenance upon the city instead of adjoining property owners, as is currently the case.

The Department of Public Works asked that the legislation be held so that the Legal Department could complete a review of the effect of such legislation on any separate and disparate part of the code. A couple of members have concerns about raising citizen expectations of repairs, given that the topic is not addressed in the new budget adopted last month.

Other council members – including many of the sponsors – pointed out that the city has consistently been held liable in local courts for injuries on sidewalks, existing statutes notwithstanding. Mary Norwood reiterated her belief – and that of other council members – that only the city could manage this challenge on a large-scale basis, and that it was neither cost-effective nor practical for individual homeowners to meet the many legal and permitting burdens imposed by the city upon private contractors. This includes – among others – a very high bonding requirement for contractors and negotiating with the Parks Department about tree impacts in the adjacent sidewalk strips, for which the city is responsible.

Norwood further voiced her concern that the idea of using bond monies (should next year’s contemplated bond issue be adopted) to make sidewalk repairs in various places absent a city-wide plan and the city’s full acceptance of the responsibility would prove divisive and dilute support for the entire bond proposal.

A number of other council members voiced agreement for these specific and broad arguments, while also suggesting that a careful approach that considered any comments from the Legal Department was a good idea. After deliberation, the committee decided to hold an August work session on the topic and re-address the legislation at its scheduled meeting on August 29th.

VHCA intends to be at the work session, and we’ll report its date and other developments as they occur.


Atlanta City Council to Consider Changes to Existing Sidewalk Policy

DSC_0009By: Peggy Berg, VHCA Safety Chair

Nine Atlanta City Council members are co-sponsoring legislation to remove a city ordinance that requires homeowners to pay to repair sidewalk abutting their property. This legislation will be considered at the July 15 meeting of the City Utilities Committee, 9:30 am, Committee Room #2 on the second floor of City Hall, located at 55 Trinity Street. Click here to view a copy of the proposed legislation.

Enacting this law will put the City on a course to provide safe pedestrian access around Atlanta and to manage the sidewalk system on a large-scale, cost-effective basis. It will remove from homeowners and contractors the necessity of meeting an array of legal and permitting burdens that the city either does not face or routinely handles in the process of everyday governance. These include, among others, negotiating with the Parks Department about tree impacts in the adjacent sidewalk strips, and bonding and permitting requirements that make fixing individual sidewalks one at a time expensive and time-consuming.

The City daily manages such intergovernmental challenges in streets, parks, sewers, and safety; its Public Works Department already has the professional capability to handle sidewalks. With steady funding, it is realistic to think we can have a sidewalk system that is significantly better and continuing to improve within ten years. Next year’s contemplated City of Atlanta infrastructure bond would provide a great funding start to catching up on deteriorated sidewalks.

A few residents have asked if the proposed ordinance means we spent money unnecessarily in the Virginia-Highland sidewalk bundle. We emphatically believe that our sidewalk program is and has been a very good deal. Here’s why:

  • This proposed ordinance must work its way through the city’s legislative system before becoming reality, and it is unclear how long that might take. In the meantime, adjoining property owners are still responsible for making sidewalk repairs.
  • The City of Atlanta 2015 budget has been adopted and includes no budget for sidewalk maintenance. Changing the provisions about who is responsible for sidewalks does not itself fund sidewalk repairs like those we are doing in Virginia-Highland. Because of the bundle, the participating properties in Virginia-Highland are fixed now, a huge benefit in our pedestrian-oriented neighborhood.
  • If the City funds a program of sidewalk maintenance, it should do repairs based on a clear priority system. For instance, high-traffic sidewalks and those around hospitals, schools, transit stations, etc. would theoretically be high priority and repaired first.  Sidewalks on tertiary streets like ours may well have a low priority. Realistically, it could take some years to repair lower priority sidewalks.
  • Property owners who want safe, usable sidewalks were able to have the necessary work done at a below-market price through the bundles the VHCA has coordinated. In addition, property owners did not have to deal with contracting or permitting the work in the bundles.

For property owners who want to have good sidewalks, we think the bundle was a very good deal. We hope you do as well. Thank you to the property owners who paid for improvements and enhanced Virginia-Highland for all of us and our visitors.

Anyone interested in learning more or providing input is encouraged to attend the July 15 meeting at City Hall.  The VHCA will be there.


City Utilities Committee Holds Sidewalk Repair Price Increase

DSC_0009By: Peggy Berg

VHCA Safety Committee Chair Peggy Berg, VHCA President Jack White, and PEDS President Sally Flocks appeared at the Council Utilities Committee on June 24th asking that pending legislation 14-O-1240 be held. The proposed legislation reflected the Department of Public Work’s calculation that the actual cost of sidewalk repairs made by the city was $10.28 per square foot – the existing rate is $3.90 – and increased the charge to taxpayers accordingly.

While the Department’s methods of cost calculation were challenged (and left unexplained), that was not the only topic on the table. All three speakers pointed out that the key obstacle to successful sidewalk repair is that the city code makes each individual lot owner legally responsible for segments that abut their property, an approach that makes economies of repair and large-scale construction efficiencies impossible. The city also has stringent bonding requirements in place for individual contractors; that notion has merit, but it makes the cost of a contractor’s mobilizing for a small repair (like a lone sidewalk) extremely high. One of the results is that most of the legal sidewalk repairs undertaken by homeowners in VaHi are part of a larger renovation project.

Additionally, the city – through the Parks Department – has domain over the trees in the sidewalk strips (the area between the sidewalk and street). The city’s role in a healthy tree canopy is obvious and vital, but because those trees are not infrequently a factor in broken sidewalks, getting appropriate approvals for construction around them results in another administrative cost for private citizens.

All three speakers pointed out that there are huge efficiencies of scale available to municipalities that individual owners can never obtain, and that no large city in the nation has successfully maintained its sidewalks with such an approach. The speakers also noted that Georgia Tech professor Randy Guensler (himself a VaHi resident) and his grad students in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering are in the midst of a formal sidewalk evaluation project that could be used as a guide to an efficient and effective repair program.

The role of good sidewalks in a vibrant pedestrian community like Virginia-Highland is obvious; the importance of walking and biking were assets that many citizens cited through their input into the recently adopted VaHi Master Plan.

After the presentations, the Committee tabled the legislation in favor of a more comprehensive review of the entire issue. VHCA intends to be part of that ongoing discussion.

Thank you to our District 6 Council Member Alex Wan and our At-Large council member  Mary Norwood, who joined Committee Chair Natalyn Archibong, Howard Shook, Yolanda Adrean, and Andre Dickens in the unanimous vote.


NPU-F Takes Stand Against Sidewalk Repair Price Increase

DSC_0009At its Monday night meeting, NPU-F reacted strongly against the City’s proposal to nearly triple the price it charges to repair sidewalks. The proposed price is $10.28/sq. ft. compared to the current $3.90/sq. ft. In Virginia-Highland, where the VHCA has worked with property owners for three years to improve our sidewalks, this increase would surely impede our ability to make further improvements.

The proposed legislation enables the City to collect money for sidewalks without making any commitment as to how many months or years they would hold the funds before actually delivering the work. In addition, the legislation includes no reporting or accountability requirements. In fact, the City still has not implemented the recommendations from a recent study to reduce its sidewalk red tape, which is the major factor driving up the cost of sidewalk repairs.

NPU-F passed a motion against this legislation. However, City Council still has the option of passing it. You can let City Council know how you feel about this by emailing Alex Wan at, and our at-large representatives,, and

Happily, the city has allowed a few additional properties to join the repair bundle currently being installed. If you have been considering repairing the sidewalk abutting your property, the current $3.90/sq. ft. price should be available until any new price is approved by City Council. You may wish to consider acting now rather than later. If you’re interested in learning more, contact VHCA Safety Chair Peggy Berg at or the city at 


City of Atlanta Temporarily Re-Opens 2013 VaHi Sidewalk Repair Bundle

Atlanta North Highland sidewalkIf you’ve been watching all the new sidewalk being installed on St. Charles Ave. and are wondering how you can make similar improvements in front of your home, VHCA safety chair Peggy Berg wants to hear from you.

The window of opportunity to participate in the most recent sidewalk repair bundle organized by Peggy has been reopened for a limited time. If you’re interested in having the sidewalk, curb and/or driveway apron in front of your home repaired at today’s price of $3.90 per square foot (for sidewalks – Peggy can provide pricing for driveway aprons and curbs), the time to act is now. The city has suggested – although not yet confirmed – that the cost for residents to repair sidewalk may rise significantly in the near future, possibly to as much as $10-12 per square foot. Background information on the challenges the city faces in maintaining its sidewalks can be found in this earlier Voice article.

Interested residents should send an email to no later than Thursday August 8. Peggy will come measure your repairs and quote you a price no later than Monday August 12. You would then have until Sunday August 18 to get Peggy a check for the amount of the repairs made out to the City of Atlanta. If your sidewalk needs repairing but you cannot afford to participate, the VHCA has limited funds available on a first come, first served basis. The VHCA can match up to $500 for residents with a financial need, while funds last.

Re-opening this window to enroll will not impact the city’s estimation that work on this sidewalk repair bundle will be completed within the next 6-12 months.

Scroll down to see a few pictures of the sidewalk that was repaired on St. Charles Ave. last week.

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Work Begins on St. Charles Sidewalk Bundle

City of Atlanta workers started yesterday to demolish and remove old and damaged sidewalk along the south side of St. Charles Ave. in preparation for pouring concrete for new sidewalks in the coming days.

We spotted workers busily removing old pavers on St. Charles near Bonaventure around noon today and stopped to welcome the workers to VaHi and take a few pictures. Scroll down to see images of the work done so far.

One worker said they could begin pouring concrete as early as this afternoon at already-prepped areas on St. Charles near Ponce de Leon Pl. The worker said work will continue – weather permitting – over the next week or two to make repairs to all segments in the bundle.

Click here for a list of locations included in the St. Charles bundle, submitted to the city by VHCA safety chair Peggy Berg earlier this year.

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Sidewalk Repair Update

Broken sidewalkSeveral residents have asked for a list of addresses included in the St. Charles sidewalk repair bundle, and also the addresses included in the larger bundle recently submitted to the city by VHCA safety chair Peggy Berg.

Click here to view the addresses included in the St. Charles sidewalk bundle submitted to the city many months ago by Peggy. Peggy’s been told the city will begin work on this bundle any day now – and recent prep activity seen on N. Highland Ave. seems to support that. Berg believes the city is now waiting only for a few consecutive days without rain to do the actual repair work.

Click here to view the addresses included in the larger sidewalk/apron repair bundle submitted to the city by Peggy in June. The city has indicated it will be 6-12 months before these repairs are made.


Sidewalk Success – By Any Standard!

VHCA safety chair Peggy Berg gets the association’s gold star this week for her outstanding work rounding up residents to participate in the final sidewalk repair bundle before the city’s pending price increase.

On Friday June 14, Peggy presented a check for $102,197 to the City of Atlanta on behalf of 125 residents who chose to have their sidewalks repaired now, as opposed to waiting until after the city’s new budget goes into effect July 1. Our understanding from the city is that sidewalk repair costs could increase by as much as three times what they are today at some point after the new budget goes into effect.

Peggy worked tirelessly over the past few weeks talking with interested residents about their sidewalks, driveway aprons and curbs; measuring the work required; and quoting prices. Collecting checks was where the rubber met the road, so to speak, and Peggy did an incredible job following up with folks to make sure their checks were collected in time to meet the June 15 deadline.

Unfortunately, the city won’t be quite as quick to make the repairs as Peggy was in her efforts to meet her submission deadline; Peggy says it could be 6-12 months before we see the work completed. In as prime an example of good things coming to those who wait as we can imagine, the positive impact on the neighborhood’s walkability when the work is complete will be significant and long-lasting.

If you’re seeking for some fairly short term sidewalk gratification, though, look no further than St. Charles Avenue where long-awaited repairs to the bundle Peggy collected last year are scheduled to be made within the next 30 days.


A Last(?) Chance to Fix Your VaHi Sidewalk at a Very Good Price

The Long and the Short of It

The Short:

For sidewalk information: Peggy Berg (404) 512-9142;

In Atlanta, sidewalk maintenance is the legal responsibility of the property owner. Such repairs may be done privately – which requires individual permitting applications for every repair, a cumbersome and costly deterrent to many citizens – or by City contractors. The City has done sidewalk repairs and replacements at $3.90 per square foot for many years; basically, this is the cost of the concrete, pour and finish.

The City spends closer to $10 to $12 per square foot including demolition, erosion control and related costs. We understand the City is revising the amount it charges property owners from $3.90 per sq. ft. to $10 – $12 to cover its costs. New pricing will go into effect with the City’s new budget on July 1. If the sidewalk abutting your property is in poor condition, now is the time to have it replaced.

The City has also been considering requiring homeowners who have broken sidewalks to have them repaired at the new higher price. The City faces significant litigation costs because so many people get hurt on our broken sidewalks. It needs sidewalk repairs for pedestrian safety and to control legal costs.

If repairs are made under today’s pricing – requiring payment by June 15, 2013 – the average Virginia-Highland homeowner’s cost would be about $1,200. When the new budget goes into effect, the cost to repair that same sidewalk could be $3,600 or more.

The VHCA is organizing a bundle of sidewalk repairs before the higher pricing goes into effect. The association will get you a price for your sidewalk and will also act as intermediary with the city to get the repairs made. If you cannot afford to participate, the VHCA has limited funds available on a first-come-first served basis to help. The VHCA can match up to $500 for neighbors with a financial need, while funds last.

To participate at today’s cost we need to have your check for the repairs no later than June 15.

To participate, or if you have any questions, contact Peggy Berg at (404) 512-9142 or

The Long (Some History and Context):

Over the last 30 years, the challenge of improving sidewalks has been an enduring one for the residents of this community and for the Virginia-Highland Civic Association.  The newsletters of the last three decades are full of stories on the subject.

Some municipalities pay to fix sidewalks from the general fund, collecting taxes from all property owners to cover the cost. Other cities, including Atlanta, make property owners responsible for sidewalks abutting their property rather than sharing the cost across properties with and without sidewalks.  Given Atlanta’s budget and reluctance to increase property taxes, it seems likely that abutting property owners will continue to be responsible for their sidewalks.

In theory, the city can cite property owners, make repairs independently if the owner fails to act, and charge the property owner for the cost of repairs.  In fact, the city has never made a systematic effort to require abutting property owners to fix sidewalks. But that may be changing.

The City is under increased pressure to improve sidewalks for several reasons. First, the sidewalk system has been allowed to deteriorate for so long that it has become a real problem for pedestrians. Second, broken and uneven sidewalks are dangerous; people fall and get hurt and sue the city, which is now dealing with many lawsuits and millions of dollars in liability losses.  In addition, Federal ADA legislation requires sidewalk improvements; Atlanta is not in compliance.

Without a budget for sidewalks, and with increasing pressure from citizens who like to walk, from the courts and from the Federal government, the City needs a way to get sidewalks repaired.  We are informed that pressuring property owners to comply with regulations and pay for repairs is one approach being considered.  As an inducement, the City may also be considering ways to facilitate such payments by making it possible to pay for the repairs over time. Either approach would be better than the status quo; neither is certain.

We note the obvious: it is fundamentally wasteful of taxpayer dollars to spend millions on lawsuits and to budget no money at all to repair the sidewalks that are the underlying cause of the losses. The proposed 2014 City budget has not been adopted, but its current version contains no sidewalk line item, we are informed.

For years, the City has charged property owners $3.90 per square foot for sidewalk replacements – about $1,200 for a typical Virginia-Highland sidewalk 55 feet long and 5-6 feet wide. Unfortunately, revenue at that level only covers the cost of the concrete, poured and finished; it does not include the other costs of demolition, removal, grading, erosion control, insurance, etc.  The City is planning to increase the charge to abutting property owners in order to cover their analyzed full costs, which will increase the fee to $10 to $12 per square foot, about $3,600 for the same size sidewalk calculated above.

Independent of city enforcement, VHCA has offered a variety of enticements over the years that offered to share costs of sidewalk repairs with homeowners.  Those programs have usually been vigorously debated within the Board, with proponents pointing out that we all benefit from the walkability and safety of good sidewalks and opponents believing that all owners ought to meet their own responsibilities.  A few – but not many – citizens have fixed their sidewalks with the assistance of the association.

As it turns out, unless a homeowner is doing a larger project, it’s not at all easy to find a contractor who’s willing to go through the considerable challenges of permitting a small repair without charging a (fair but hefty) fee for all the time required.  It’s been a very real challenge, which has stopped many residents from repairing their sidewalks and induced others to do the work without permits or inspections.

Last year VHCA started a program to have neighborhood sidewalks repaired in bundles. Not surprisingly, it’s more cost effective for the City to do a bundle of sidewalks close together than to do single sidewalks one at a time scattered around the City.  The VHCA canvassed owners along St. Charles Avenue and its cross streets (an area of particularly dire need) and an uncertain Board was convinced to subsidize part of the bill for those who needed help. A total of 31 sidewalk segments were in the bundle and VHCA delivered payment to the City on August 23, 2012. That bundle is scheduled to have concrete poured by early June.

When the City triples the price, it will be even more difficult for the neighborhood association to promote sidewalk repairs. With this in mind, we are assembling one final bundle of sidewalks prior to June 15 to take advantage of the $3.90 pricing that will soon be a thing of the past. The bundle is open to the entire neighborhood. If you have a sidewalk that needs repair, now is the time to get it organized. To participate in the bundle:

  1. Contact Peggy Berg at (404) 512-9142 or and give her your address.
  2. She will get you a price for your sidewalk.
  3. Get Peggy a check made out to City of Atlanta.
  4. VHCA will manage the process with the City. Based on existing experience, we expect it to take about a year to get the sidewalks poured. It may happen sooner, but please note that we don’t directly control that.
  5. If you are financially unable to participate, the VHCA can help. For those with a financial need, the association will share the cost up to $500. We have $14,000 available to help people who could not otherwise participate. First come, first served.

This is a chance to fix your sidewalk at a price that’s a lot cheaper than it will be in the future. That’s a real benefit to everyone; this is a community of walkers, which is good in all the obvious ways. We will be safer and more active with good sidewalks.

Call or email Peggy Berg with any questions about our sidewalks and about getting your sidewalk fixed. (404) 512-9142 or


Sidewalk Committee Presents Findings to City Council

On February 14, 2013 reports from four sidewalk sub-committees were presented to members of City Council and city government. Links to the presentations can be found below. Peggy Berg, Chair of the VHCA Sidewalk Committee, presented on red tape in the city’s sidewalk process and on neighborhood initiatives.

The sub-committees recommended a comprehensive approach to managing Atlanta’s sidewalks, including realistic funding.

The Committees reported that Atlanta’s approach of “unmanaged risk features poor management of the overall system, extreme risk of liability and negligence lawsuit losses and a kick the can down the road political strategy” and notes that “unfortunately for this administration, the can is now so rusted that kicking it down the road would be a breach of fiduciary responsibility for tax funds and gross negligence in terms of public safety.”

Peggy Berg, VHCA Board, presented for the sub-committees on red tape and neighborhood initiatives. Sidewalk Sub-Committee February 14 presentation final

Sally Flocks, President and CEO of PEDS, presented for the sub-committees on policy and funding: Sidewalk Task Force presentation-recommended reforms Sally Flocks


What Goes Around, Comes Around – Even Hexagonal Pavers!

If you’re thinking about repairing or replacing the sidewalk adjacent to your home and you’re a fan of hexagonal pavers, you might want to follow the lead of Ann and Anthony Guy.

The Guys recently redid the sidewalk that runs along the Adair Avenue side of their home (see before/after pictures below) using pavers recycled from St. Charles Avenue. VHCA volunteers collected the pavers that the city was planning to discard when new sidewalk was installed on St. Charles last summer. The pavers were stockpiled so that neighbors with a ‘paver passion’ can retain the look of the neighborhood’s original sidewalks.

The money the Guys paid for these recycled pavers goes into a special VHCA fund. The fund will be used to provide financial assistance to other neighbors who would not otherwise be able to participate in the next bundle of sidewalks assembled by the VHCA sidewalk committee.

A limited number of additional hexagonal pavers are available to others who want to do as the Guys did. Pavers are $6 for VaHi residents, $8 for non-residents. Contact Peggy Berg at 404-236-9064 or pegberg1111@gmail.comfor more information or to order pavers.

Before, looking eastbound

After, looking westbound


VaHi Resident Develops Innovative Tool for Assessing Sidewalks

By: Peggy Berg, VHCA Safety/Sidewalks Committee

Dr. Randy Guensler and his "Sidewalker"

Did you know that Atlanta, like many cities, doesn’t have an inventory of its sidewalks? We don’t know how many miles of sidewalks we have, where they are or aren’t, or where repairs are needed. This makes planning for pedestrian access, ADA compliance, and efficient use of sidewalk funds very difficult.

Dr. Randall Guensler, Professor in the Transportation Systems Engineering Group at Georgia Tech, ( has developed an innovative new approach to assessing the condition of our sidewalks. Dr. Guensler, a Virginia-Highland resident, fitted a tablet device onto a wheelchair and programmed the rolling contraption to take video, measure cracks and bumps, and upload latitude and longitude coordinates to a mapping system. Volunteers can quickly be trained to maneuver the wheelchairs. That’s right…Atlanta is about to have a cost effective way to collect information on our sidewalks, develop an inventory, and assess sidewalk conditions.

Dr. Guensler will demonstrate his “Sidewalker” at this month’s VHCA board meeting (Monday Feb. 11, 7 PM, Ponce library). Pedestrians, potential volunteers and interested parties are welcome.


BeltLine Master Plan for Sub-area 6

The BeltLine Master Plan for “sub-area 6” includes the western edge of Virginia-Highland along Piedmont Park and Monroe Drive. These include proposals for improvements to the intersections of Monroe and 8th; Monroe and 10th/Virginia/Kanuga; and for converting Monroe to two lanes with a median/turn lane. Diagrams cover proposed bike access and transit.

The download can take a while as it’s 45 MB large: download main document here; there are also appendices (72 MB).

BeltLine master planning homepage

Here are some pictures from the document:


Sidewalk Committee Report

  By: Peggy Berg, Traffic/Transportation and Sidewalks Chair

With repair work set to begin soon on the neighborhood’s first identified sidewalk bundle, the Sidewalk Committee is looking for more sections of VaHi sidewalk in need of repair.

If there’s a section of sidewalk in the neighborhood you’d like to see fixed, email the location information to The committee will select sections of sidewalk based on pre-defined criteria and neighbor interest is a significant factor. As sections of sidewalk are selected, the committee will contact homeowners to request participation in the repair work per the terms of the VHCA’s sidewalk repair and funding program.

The VHCA’s sidewalk repair program handles all interaction with the City for the property owner. In case of financial need, the funding program contributes up to half the property owner’s cost of replacing a sidewalk, as part of a bundle, up to $500 for a segment. If a property has two segments (corner properties have a segment in front and one on the side) the program will contribute fully for the first segment and up to $300 or 50% for the second segment, if there is a financial need. Click here for more information on the VHCA’s sidewalk program.

Areas already on the list as needing repairs are: Cresthill Ave.; Briarcliff Pl. between N. Highland and Briarcliff; Amsterdam Ave. east of Monroe and around the corner to Brookridge; Brookridge Dr. after the bridge; Drewry St.; and Greenwood Ave. from N. Highland to Ponce Pl. Please submit any suggestion you have for sidewalks in need of repair not already on this list.

The first bundle of sidewalk for which repairs are currently scheduled is along St. Charles Avenue. As of late September, that work was scheduled for completion within 4-6 weeks.


PEDS Sidewalk Repair Forum

Town hall forum with Atlanta’s Public Works Commissioner and City Council hosted by PEDS to discuss sidewalk repair. Free and open to the public. Come let the City know that safe sidewalks and pedestrian access are important in Atlanta.

Time: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 6:30PM until 8:00PM
Location: City Hall old council chambers
Address: 55 Trinity, Atlanta

More information at the PEDS website


VHCA Votes Funding to Improve Sidewalks

On June 11, 2012, the VHCA Board reviewed the first VHCA Sidewalk Bundle program and voted to fund up to $15,000 for sidewalk improvements in the bundle. Plans are to develop future bundles in the neighborhood, if the St. Charles project is successful.

The funding program is for owners who require assistance to replace their sidewalk. The program contributes up to half of a property owner’s cost of replacing a sidewalk, as part of the bundle, up to $500 for a sidewalk segment. If a property has two segments (corner properties have a segment in front and a segment on the side) then the program will contribute up to $300 or 50% for the second segment.

Look for sidewalk improvements along St. Charles Ave. by the end of the year.


Alleys in the City of Atlanta

Alley between St. Charles and Greenwood west of Bonaventure

A Virginia-Highland alley

Alley between Adair and Highland View west of N. Highland

When our neighborhood was originally platted, it included alleys running behind many of our houses. Some alleys were used for service access and/or utilities, while others were never actively opened. You can see the alleys on City plats and maps officially, as well as Google maps unofficially. They appear as a narrow strip between properties. The alleys were generally 10 feet wide.

Here is the story on alleys.

  1. In the 1970s, Mayor Jackson and City Council abandoned all City alleys except 3 located downtown.
  2. The City does not have a good complete record of what alleys it used to own – which may be one reason that they abandoned them en masse. This is no fault of our City employees today; records were a bit less formal around the turn of the century.
  3. When abandoned, the alleys became the property of the adjoining properties, half to each property. For example, 5 feet of a standard 10 foot alley became the property of each adjoining house (or church or commercial establishment).
  4. The alleys then became the maintenance responsibility of the property owner.
  5. There is a restriction that access through the alleys had to be maintained by the property owner unless all the property owners adjoining the original alley agreed to make the alley impassible.
  6. Many alleys have been absorbed into the adjoining yards, fenced, and landscaped so they are no longer passable. This often happened by acquiescence rather than formal agreement meaning there is not a signed document, but since all the homeowners have taken the land they have effectively agreed.
  7. The property’s share of the alley is measured as part of the property for building permitting purposes, which is a significant benefit.

If you are on an alley, you may already maintain part within your garden. If not, maintenance is still the responsibility of the adjoining homeowner. In a neighborhood of valuable land and small lots, alley share is beneficial.


Voice – Summer 2012

Last edition of the Voice (print edition) published!
Download PDF (6.1 MB)

– It’s festival time! Summerfest 2012
– New Highland Park construction to begin soon
– Reflections on redistricting, by Nicole Foerschler-Horn
– Dr. Leila Denmark, by Lola Carlisle, Karri Hobson Pape and Judy Potter
– Graffiti in Virginia-Highland
– Planning for the 2012 VaHi Tour of Homes is underway, by Jack White and Lola Carlisle
– A walking community, by Peggy Berg
– Goin’ Coastal, a great catch, by Brent Schnee
– How to choose a contractor, by Phillip Pettis


Alternative to sidewalk repair

Bradford pear trees were installed at 1111 and 1115 Rosedale Drive some 24 years ago and the sidewalks were replaced shortly thereafter. The pear trees grew beautifully and proved stronger than the sidewalks which became a hazard for pedestrians, strollers and small children on bicycles.

As an alternative to replacing the sidewalks (again), Sidewalk Solutions was hired to grind the broken sections so they would no longer present a hazard. Before and after pictures are shown above, and results are available for viewing at your convenience on Rosedale Drive. If you have hazardous sidewalks and are not ready to replace them, this may be worth your consideration. Sidewalk Solutions, (678) 558-4487.



Voice – March 2012 – Sidewalks

by Peggy Berg, Traffic/Transportation & Sidewalks chair
In Virginia-Highland, many sidewalks are in need of repair. Damage from property trees is the property owner’s responsibility, and worn-out pavers and sewer issues, generally speaking, are the property owner’s responsibility, as well. Damage from right-of-way trees is a City responsibility.

The City has minimal budget and staffing, meaning that it cannot be proactive in response to these needs, but these factors mean their ability to be reactive is also limited.

The processes for the City to take care of sidewalk repair are as follows:

  • Report issues to DPW on line or through PEDS ( or
  • Possible involvement of Parks regarding trees
  • Receive inspection within 72 hours, unless there is tree involvement
  • Receive price quote thereafter (standard 50 foot sidewalk costs about $1000, which may be partially paid by the City, depending on tree damage)
  • Property owner contracts with the City and pays the City for repair
  • Wait

This approach is inefficient because repairs may be sporadic, and because of the wait.

An alternative to getting sidewalks repaired through the city is to privately contract sidewalk repair. However, the city requires contractor to:

  • Post a large bond
  • Provide architect- or engineer-stamped drawings
  • Complete building permit process (which costs hours in City Hall)

We contacted 11 contractors, and NONE were willing to undertake sidewalk repair for a homeowner unless part of a major construction project. They can’t cover the cost of taking the sidewalk through the City processes for the $1000 standard sidewalk price.

Historically, sidewalk repair programs in VaHi have been less than successful.

A few years back, VHCA had a 50% cost matching program of up to $500 for sidewalk replacement. There were few takers (less than 20 in 3 years), and some of those funded were doing sidewalks anyway. The worst sidewalks – those the VHCA would target – did not necessarily get repaired. Thus, the program was discontinued.

There must be a better way.

The Sidewalks Committee of the Virginia-Highlands Civic Association is currently developing a series of initiatives (already in progress) to address the continuing issue of sidewalks in disrepair:

Current Initiative I: Major Streets

On the major streets, bad spots on Virginia and North Highland were identified, via a committee evaluation. All in all, there were some good responses from the neighborhood. Some property owners have already been approached and informed of the processes involved with initiating repairs through the city. Once the Board receives funding requests to begin repairs, we can then track the city’s progress via the property owners to verify the sidewalks have been seen to.

Current Initiative II: Bundling Overcome barriers – Incent action

Currently in progress is an informational packet for property owners describing how to incent repairs. The process would involve identifying a few blocks to bundle, concentrating on major streets first (those which are traffic-light controlled), followed by through-streets. In both cases, those streets with a high proportion of broken sidewalks would take precedence.

As of 2/14, the sidewalks committee had set criteria on and identified potential bundles throughout the neighborhood. Thus far, about 100 sidewalk segments have been identified for repair, beginning with St. Charles and Barnett near St. Charles (hopefully with more sections to follow).

If you would like the list of bundles (with accompanying photos), send an e-mail to

Bundling next steps as of 2/14/12

What happens next depends on the City’s willingness to utilize our bundling plan. Alex Wan hosted a conference call with the Committee and agreed to talk to DPW about a bundled inspection with a committee member.

If accepted, we get pricing for each property in the bundle from the City and offer to work with each homeowner individually to get the bundle assembled.

If, however, the bundling plan does not go through, we can continue to pursue the idea by contacting each homeowner, asking them to start the process with the City, track the process with them, and encourage the City to notice the opportunity to save money by bundling construction

VHCA incentives

Since most of the sidewalks at issue have some right-of-way tree involvement, at least partial City funding is involved. As the bundles take shape, VHCA will be working on a program to pay a share of the property owner’s portion of the cost. Shared 3 ways (though not necessarily evenly), property owners potentially get a $1000 improvement for $500 or less if they participate in the bundle. To do this, property owners must propose funding incentives to the Board once the structure of the funding is defined. However, the Board is tracking the Committee’s progress, and a formal funding request to the Board will have to be approved prior to committing any funds.


The primary goal is to fix the worst primary artery sidewalks in Virginia-Highland, followed by those around the community, utilizing the bundling plan. The idea is to set a process in place that is streamlined, easily repeatable, and can get more sidewalks fixed for the funds available.

Continue reading — March 2012 Voice (online edition)


Voice – Spring 2011

Download PDF here (1.6 MB)

– Tree planting
– Neighborhood responds to recent crime wave
– Volunteers
– Orme Park construction
– Sidewalks/walkability
– FBAC doubles patrol area
– Home Tour success
– Graffiti task force update
– History Part X


The Annual PEDS Wire Hunt

PEDS, our watchful city-wide pedestrian advocacy organization is sponsoring its annual hunt for fallen utility wire hazards and needs your help to find them. Go to to find out how to report and enter the contest.

(3/21/10): From our good friends at PEDS – our local and very effective pedestrian advocate – two stories of important interest. The first deals with their annual Hazardous Wire Hunt Survey that is in full swing right now. We’ve all seen hanging wires on sidewalks all over the city – make sure they are reported.

The second story deals with keeping sidewalks clean and free of vegetation, overgrown shrubbery, low-hanging tree limbs etc. This is your responsibility as a property owner.


The PDL Avenue CVS Construction Site

At first this area only presented a pedestrian hazard with the destruction of the sidewalks here – but City of Atlanta had the contractor move the “sidewalk closed” sign eastward to PDL Place solving that problem. But, now the contractor has moved out into the traffic lanes – effectively forcing westbound traffic in the curbside lane to move over. I reported this to Public Works – but they have deferred to the GaDOT – since PDL Avenue is a state highway. Hope a warning sign is posted soon before there is a terrible accident in this area.


Safety Team Report 4/13/09

I have held off sending out a new report awaiting more crime state reports from Zone 6, but didn’t want to wait any longer ( this is a subtle hint to Zone 6) to let you know what is happening. I have not received a Zone 6 report since week # 12.

AJC Articles

The AJC today has a story about yet another pedestrian assault on Briarcliff Road in DeKalb County. Read the story at The April 10th AJC had a revealing story about the backlog problem in our Fulton County court system – read this No wonder the Fulton County jail is overcrowded.

There is also another story on 4/13 in Metro, page B6 that is not online, concerning a movement to start a local chapter of the Guardian Angels here again to patrol downtown streets. On the surface this all sounds good, giving APD more sets of eyes and ears, but I also wonder if they do establish a downtown chapter and start chasing panhandlers, thugs, etc from those streets where do they go to? We already seem to be having more and more aggressive panhandlers on our VaHi streets and I wonder if this Guardian Angel movement may send more vagrants to our neighborhood. No word yet, according to the article, as to when or if, a chapter will be set up here in Atlanta. Stay tuned for this.

Arrest and Jail Report

Frederick C. Stranahan, the subject of the alert I put out last week, was arrested on 4/10 at the Intown Suites on Piedmont Circle, N.E. by Zone 6 Officer Britt. See his jail report at

Michael Corley, arrested on 3/25 here in VaHi after a home breakin on Orme Circle and leaving a stolen Jeep on Crestridge Drive, had his case deferred last Thursday morning in court. He is still in jail – his report at

Phone Numbers

Don’t forget the back-door number to call from your cell phone for an Atlanta 911-type emergency call which is 404-658-6666 while you are calling from within the city limits. This helps to eliminate the problems with cell phone calls bouncing off towers outside the city limits that may direct your call to a suburban 911 call center. Also – don’t forget the phone number for our VaHi Security Patrol on Friday and Saturday nites from 10 til 2 for non-emergency calls – this number is 678-772-0448. Use this number for non-emergency quality of life matters that APD may not have time to respond to.

PEDS Problem Sidewalk Survey

Find the details of this sidewalk initiative at as to how to send reports on our many stretches of unwalkable sidewalks during the month of April.

Neighborhood Trash Cleanups

A small group assembled by Victoria Hathcox, our VaHi “trash queen”, cleaned up litter and illegal signs along North Highland Avenue Saturday morning, the 11th. Victoria hopes to make these cleanups a monthly affair – watch for a date for May.

BeltLine Cleanup

A cleanup of these tracks from Freedom Parkway southward to DeKalb Avenue is scheduled for Saturday morning, April 18th, from 8 til noon. Sign up at and to get more details. This will be the second leg of BeltLine cleanups that we had in our area last November.

The Edgewood Target Store

I recently received this message from our Major Propes of Zone 6 about shopping at the Edgewood Target store. She states – “If anyone ever has a problem at the Edgewood Target or is concerned about a suspicious person in the store, please make contact with the Target security team. The Executive Team Leader of Assets Protection at Edgewood Target is Kachavias Rodgers. He works closely with us here in Zone 6 and I assure you, he will jump on anything bought to his attention by a customer of the store. Target has an incredible camera system that we access often during a variety of follow-up investigations.” They have red wallphones all over the store that you can use to call security if you have a need to contact them. Mr. Rodgers was a big help with our VaHi National Night Out event last August.

Let Me Know

I have been getting reports about urban camping behind Church of Our Savior on North Highland Avenue – does anyone else know about this potential problem? I am also getting new reports about the valet parking at the Wachovia Bank parking lot on Virginia Avenue, and the problems associated with them – let me know if you have a report to make also. These are things I’ll tackle after I hear more reports from you. Any new incidents concerning the neighborhood kids firing bb guns?

Crime reports from APD

The following report is for only week # 12 of 2009 taken from the crime stat report from Zone 6, with emphasis on our Beat # 603, but with news from around the Zone as it pertains to us.

  • Aggravated Assault – On 3/21 on Rockledge Road – 2 acquaintances were involved in a fight.
  • Auto Theft – Vehicles were stolen from Briarcliff Place, Cooledge Avenue, and 3 from PDL Avenue, including one from the Briarcliff Summit parking garage which had the keys left in the ignition.
  • Larceny From Auto – Cars were broken into on Amsterdam Avenue, PDL Avenue, Vance Avenue and Virginia Avenue. Please remember the Clean Car Campaign and keep your car cleaned out and don’t tempt the guys who wander our streets looking for opportunities. In all of Zone 6 in just this one week period – there were eleven GPS systems stolen.
  • Auto Theft Recovery – Stolen cars were found on nearby Monroe Place and Linwood Avenue.
  • Larceny Other – A female victim lost $500 in cash from her (quite obviously unwatched) purse at the bowling alley on Piedmont Circle. When I checked with the victims last week, the dognapping from Virginia Avenue is still unsolved. See the report at A PDL Avenue Kroger shopper left her wallet at the checkout counter, and it was found it was taken by an employee (ex-employee I would assume now).
  • Pedestrian Robbery – On 3/17 at 1:20 a.m. a male was robbed of his cellphone by two armed b/m on Lindberg Drive who fled in a Chevy Blazer. On 3/15 at 7:30 p.m. a Briarcliff Road resident was approached on Seminole Avenue by 3 suspects who asked for a cigarette – and then demanded money. As the victim was giving them his cash – one perp struck him, and then showed a pistol. One perp was located and arrested.
  • Residential Burglary – An Elkmont Drive home was entered via a front window. Two apartments on Piedmont Avenue were entered – one through an unlocked front door.

Voice – Winter 2005

Published November 2005
Download as PDF (4.1 MB)

– 2005 Tour of Homes
– VHCA funds awarded
– Art in Freedom Park comes to an end, by Eric Dusenbury
– Greetings from the VaHi Business Association, by Tinka Green
– Environment leadership skills offered to teens
– President’s address, by Kevin Cronin
– You think your sidewalk is bad? Take a picture, by Brian Pilger
– Morningside Elementary School, rezoning and you, by Chip Gallagher
– Rep. Gardner sponsors electronic waste recycling day


Voice – Winter 2004

Download as PDF (4.2 MB)

– Find out how the Joneses live and support your community (Tour of Homes)
– Civic Association award more than $40,000 to local organizations
– Letter from the President, by Kevin Cronin (opposing Piedmont Park parking deck)
– Orme Park drainage problems to be addressed
– MARTA oughta to be smarta, by Chip Gallagher
– Tour of Homes 2004 (description and picture of each picture)
This could be you: sad shamed and sued, by Chip Gallagher
– Five taxi stands should reduce traffic problems
– Civic association offers funds for off-duty police patrols, by Jean Ellen Jones
– The Good Neighbor (portrait of Cynthia Gentry, who led efforts to build Cunard playground at John Howell Park), by Nonie Daniel
– The Highland Hoer: Time for outdoor cleanup, by John Wolfinger
– Community survey form



The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 09/01/04

Who should be responsible for sidewalk repair? Atlanta’s sidewalks are falling apart, and it could be your fault.

The problem is that too many people don’t know this, so too many sidewalks are falling apart, said Pamela Wilson, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Works.

So if the sidewalk in front of your house is crumbling, it’s your responsibility to notify the city, get a permit and repair it.

To emphasize the point, the city is holding a “Walk for Sidewalks” at 10 a.m. Sept. 10 in Midtown. The route has yet to be determined, but the walk will end at Piedmont Park.

“There are a lot of sidewalks that are not in good condition, but people are not aware it’s their responsibility,” Wilson said.

About a month ago, the city started dispatching inspectors to eyeball sidewalks all over Atlanta. They are starting with the major pedestrian corridors but will soon come to a sidewalk near you. The inspectors will determine if repairs are required and, if so, notify property owners.

For now, people will get a friendly reminder. But if repairs aren’t made in good time, the city will make the repairs and bill the property owner, said Wilson.

A survey of a handful of contractors indicated their charges range from $2 to $10 per square foot. The city said it would charge $2.75 per square foot, with an additional $85 an hour in labor costs.

Wilson said there have been numerous instances in which people call the city to report a broken sidewalk, only to learn it’s their job to fix it.

The campaign to fix up sidewalks underscores Mayor Shirley Franklin’s call that Atlanta be a more “walkable” city.

“Like we did with the Pothole Posse, city government is committed to making this a safe city for pedestrians,” Franklin said in a written statement. “We are creating a walkable city for a casual stroll for senior citizens to children’s daily walks to school.”

Participating in the “Walk for Sidewalks” will be students, persons with disabilities, business people, pedestrian groups and crossing guards.

The city has even created a mascot for the campaign – a person dressed as a walking slab of sidewalk, replete with yellow hard hat and orange safety vest.

To report a problem sidewalk, call the transportation department at 404-330-6501.

Pushing people to repair their sidewalks helps the entire community, said Dianne Olansky, spokeswoman for the Atlanta-based Pedestrians Educating Drivers on Safety.

“When you’re out on foot, you get to meet your neighbors. . . . You notice things that are amiss in your neighborhood,” said Olansky, whose group will participate in the walk. Besides, she said, “It’s not safe to walk in the street.”

To view the full graphics and photographs accompanying this article, register for a free online subscription at and visit the Metro Section.

VHCA Sidewalk Reimbursement Policy (2004, for historic reference only, no longer valid)


Voice – Spring 2004

Download PDF (1.8 MB)

President’s Address, by Kevin Cronin
– City council honors Aaron Gross for his leadership
– City council passed sewage and water bill
– Sidewalk reimbursement program
– Grand opening of Cunard Memorial Playground March 28, 2004

Parking and transportation are major issues for the business community, by Tinka Green, VHBA president
– permit parking may be introduced in Atkins Park

What’s happening at Inman Middle School (renovation), by Liz Coyle
– Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes planned
– Remember to recycle, by Nan Hunter

Why cities don’t matter and why Virginia-Highland does, by Chip Gallagher
– Cities are losing out to suburbs in political power
– VaHi and intown neighborhoods will weather the fiscal storm due to social organization

Atkins Park Garden Club celebrated 75th anniversary, by Tinka Green
– The Southeastern Flower Show provides great landscaping ideas, by John Wolfinger
– Anatomy of a property tax assessment challenge
Cunard Memorial Playground park cleanup and grand opening
– How can I remove graffiti?


Broken sidewalk? We can help!


by Chip Gallagher

Imagine taking a nice stroll from Amsterdam to Ponce on any side of the street in Virginia Highland. Now imagine that the sidewalk you’re on is perfectly smooth and pedestrian friendly: no cracks, no missing pavers, no sink holes. One of our main projects this fiscal year is to repair all or at least a sizeable portion of the sidewalks in our neighborhood. We will pay 50% of the cost of the sidewalk repair, up to $500.

Getting your sidewalk repaired is cheaper and easier than you can imagine because if you use the city to make the repairs you only pay for the sidewalk materials. I had a portion of my sidewalk repaved by the city for a cost of $280. The Virginia Highland Civic Association reimbursement would now be $140 (At the time the reimbursement was 25% so I received $70.) The board has allocated $10,000 of this year’s budget to fix our sidewalks.

What you need to do if you are interested in fixing your sidewalk:

1. Call the city’s streets number at 404-330-6245 and set up an appointment to have someone inspect your property and write up an estimate and work order. Get a name and a direct number of your contact so you can follow up on your work order.

2. Make sure you have a receipt from the city for the work that was done on your sidewalk. We cannot reimburse you if you do not have a receipt. Make an additional copy for your records.

3. Send the receipt to Wiley Sommerville at 858 Adair Ave. or call him at 404-881-1003.

If you have any questions feel free to call me at 404-651-1853.


Voice – Winter 2002

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– Lighting the home for the holidays, by Darrah Horgan
– Letters to the editor – safety
– President’s address, by Steve Kushner (Summerfest, Hilan Theatre, Atkins Park parking)
– Safety during the holidays, by Officer Nicole Rabel
– Money magner misses mosquitos, by Chip Gallagher
– Broken sidewalk? We can help, by Chip Gallagher
– Public safety, traffic and cleanliness, by Steve Luben
– The Highland Hoer, by John Wolfinger


Voice – Spring 1993

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– Property tax season: VaHi is on first list (of assessment mailings) to homeowners
Friend, board member (Ed Neal) passed away
– President’s Corner: Summerfest success, DOT property on Ponce (now The Carlton condos, ed.) released, Murphy’s still in court
– Bicycles Require Care, Maintenance, Year Round Many Adjustments will Require Bike Mechanic, by Mike Goodman
– Your City Council, By Sheilll Martin-Brown, councilperson-at-larg
– Remember Your 3 R’s… Redvce. Reuse. Recycle. By Nan Hunter
– Parking Survey Received Huge Response, by Jett Marks
Piedmont Park has Become the Main Course on the Table, by Kathy Couch
– Gardening Volunteers Can Gain Hours for a Chance to Volunteer forthe 1996 Olympics, by Kathy Couch
– VaHi Can’t Flee from the Crime without Everyone’s Help, by Joyce Gross
– Don’t Be Shy To Your Own Neighborhood, by J .D. Christy, VP VHCA
– Col. Mustard reviews American Roadhouse
– Suitable Site For CSO (combined sewer overflow) Still Under Debate, by Jett Marks
Sidewalks throughout the Virginia- Highland area are due for a facelift, by Ellen Kates


Voice – Fall 1990

Special issue dedicated to understanding and improving Ponce de Leon Avenue

Download PDF (3.0 MB)

  • Annual meeting (photo) and results
  • America’s Stop Crime Program to speak
  • Ponce de Leon Task Force sets goals for Ponce Corridor
  • Union Mission will not pursue acquisition of building in 900 block of Ponce
  • Neighborhood school achieve many honors
  • Friends of the Library
  • Pastor of Baptist Church introduces himself
  • The Compost Man
  • Recycling Update
  • Interview with Ed Loring of Open Door on Ponce
  • Grassroots effort to improve Ponce
  • How I handle a stranger at my door
  • Parks and recreation
  • Sidewalk repair
  • Survey of inexpensive hotels along Ponce
  • Neighborhood watch, “if you hear a whistle blowing”
  • D.O.T property at St. Charles
  • Would a burglar find your home attractive?

Ad for Murphy's, Virginia-Highland Voice, August 1990