More than 3 million people visited the downtown Woodstock shopping district in 2021. That ranks our city among the most frequented downtowns in the southeastern United States, and it ranks the center of our city, yet again, as the No. 1 destination in Cherokee County.
We have built a place where people from all around the nation want to be.
Among the questions I hear as mayor is: “How is our city combatting increasing traffic concerns?” Although it is important to keep in mind that traffic and increased pedestrian presence are problems that come with the highly enviable condition of being a city that people want to visit (other cities in America would do anything to have the problems we face rather than those of decline), traffic remains a genuine concern and issue that policy makers in Woodstock need to be focused on addressing.
If the story of Woodstock were a dramatic movie, this would be the scene in which our heroic protagonist would appear on the screen. For this topic, Rob Hogan, the assistant city manager for public works, fits that role. After years of work by Hogan and his team, the City Council recently adopted Woodstock’s first comprehensive Transportation Plan.
According to the plan, “The Woodstock Transportation Plan is designed to plan and forecast major road projects, corridor enhancements and resurfacing projects, as well as sidewalks, crosswalks, parking and other improvements, over a revolving cycle updated annually.”
This comprehensive plan accounts for all major transportation network improvements slated for Woodstock’s future, their funding sources and anticipated impacts. It is set to be updated every year to ensure our city is always working on an up-to-date plan for the future.
Don’t miss the significance of this 96-page government document; it represents a level of planning and execution that is far too often absent from cities our size. It provides policy makers and those executing the plan the tools they need to see where our city has come from and where it is going. It sets us apart from sister cities and becomes a tremendous differentiator for us to the state and federal governments, as well as private entities looking to invest in our transportation network. For more details, visit www.woodstockga.gov/your_government/departments/public_works/index.php.
Speaking of transportation projects, many of you have noticed dirt moving at the intersection of Towne Lake Parkway and Mill Street as you approached downtown, traveling east. Among the many major projects outlined in the plan, this project is identified as the Hub Transformation Project. This city-led, state and local partnership was the first of its kind and broke ground a few months ago. The impact you’re seeing at this stage is making room for the roundabout, serving as the crux of the project, in addition to a new left turn lane at Main Street, a two-way conversion on Mill Street and more.
This project directly improves the traffic flow of seven streets in the heart of our downtown, encourages traffic away from main arteries and dramatically improves pedestrian walkability. This will be accomplished with minimal change to the footprint, but brings about huge gains for our citizens and those passing through our city. This project is expected to be completed by the first quarter of next year.
This project, and this plan, represent a new chapter in Woodstock’s transportation initiatives. We actively are at work to ensure the quality of life for our citizens remains exceptional, and building a best-in-class transportation system is among my top priorities. Our city’s comprehensive transportation planning effort will serve as a critically important tool in accomplishing that goal. If you ever have any questions regarding this plan, or any of our transportation projects throughout the city, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
— Mayor Michael Caldwell
– Michael Caldwell is the 31st mayor of Woodstock, a retired state legislator, member of the Georgia Technology Authority, partner at Black Airplane, husband to Katie, and father to Oliver, Elizabeth and Charlotte.