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VaHi Safety Team Report

August 3, 2019

Table of Contents

Alert: Stoplight at Amsterdam & N. Highland

We have identified a problem when you are driving westbound on Amsterdam approaching the intersection with North Highland Avenue. Because of low hanging tree branches you can not see the stoplight until you are almost into the intersection. A request for tree trimming has been submitted to the city to correct this dangerous situation. In the meantime, please be extra careful as you drive or walk through this intersection. A father and his daughter were nearly hit here last month and with children returning to  school on August 12th we will have young people walking to Inman and Grady who will enter the crosswalk assuming you are going to stop. 

Ponce Library Renovation: Safety Concerns

Some of you may have heard that the Fulton County Library branch on Ponce De Leon is scheduled to undergo renovation. While interior changes are needed and welcome, there has been much conversation in the neighborhood over the past few weeks about the plan to remove up to 17 healthy trees. After careful review of the plan and discussions with representatives of the project team, we also have identified some real safety concerns.
In order to create a drive-thru book drop, a one-way alley is proposed on the east side of the library with access off Ponce de Leon Avenue exiting into the parking lot and onto Frederica Street. This proposal presents many safety concerns:

  • The alley has no provision for a sidewalk to separate pedestrians from cars
  • The alley is out of sight from the library entrance and from the parking lot and the street. Such blind spots welcome undesirable behavior and are inherently unsafe. Even with adequate lighting it would be unwise to enter this blind alley – especially after dark.
  • The alley is one way with access from Ponce de Leon only. A patron arriving on a bicycle would have to ride on Ponce de Leon Avenue (a high volume and high speed four lane state road) to access the book drop.
  • In the new plan there is no provision for a pedestrian book drop. Pedestrians or cyclists who enter the property from Frederica would need to walk all the way around the library to deposit books and compete with cars in the alley. 
  • This book drop clearly does not meet ADA accessibility requirements.
  • Drivers on Ponce De Leon Avenue will be tempted to skip the stop light at Frederica and use this as a cut through to access Frederica and the neighborhood.

Neighborhood advocates have started a petition that will ask Fulton County Commissioners to delay this project to allow for additional community engagement and improvements to the plan. Find more information and sign here

Regarding the loss of tree canopy city-wide, you can add your voice to the discussion. The Atlanta City Council Community Development and Human Services Committee’s work session on revisions to the City’s Tree Protection Ordinance scheduled for June 19 has been rescheduled to Thursday, August 22 at 10 a.m. The work session will be held in Committee Room No. 1 at Atlanta City Hall, 55 Trinity Ave SW.

Sign the Petition

Piedmont Park Adds Training & Equipment to Assist with Emergencies

On an early spring day, a Park visitor was playing soccer on the Active Oval when he suddenly fell to the ground. He was experiencing a major heart attack at just over 30 years old. Luckily, his friends were medical professionals and thought to run to the Tennis Center for help. They found an automated external defibrillator (AED) device which they used to keep his heart beating while they waited for an ambulance.
With over 78,000 athletes coming to Piedmont Park every year, things happen. Medical emergencies, on the other hand, are few and far between. The incident prompted the Conservancy staff to explore how they could respond to similar situations while working in the Park. Follow the link to learn more

Quick Notes

Fulton County invites residents to a community meeting on Thursday, August 15, 2019 to learn more about the planned construction of a new animal shelter and to give their input. More information.

The Atlanta Region’s Plan is a long-range blueprint that details the investments that will be made over the next 20-30 years to ensure metro Atlanta’s future success and improve the region’s quality of life. ARC is currently updating regional projects and policies through 2050. Learn more about the proposed updates by reviewing the documents and share your input into The Atlanta Region’s Plan here.

Ellen Meshnick, Druid Hills Neighborhood Watch Leader reports that recent 11 Alive and AJC news stories tell of thieves removing RING doorbells in Oakhurst and Decatur. See the news story here. Obviously this individual did not understand that as he was removing the camera, his face was being transmitted to the cloud and preserved for police. Oops. 

Crime Statistics

Note that crime - especially auto break-ins - are down substantially in Virginia Highland this month, evidence that the Major Vazquez's focus in the area is helping. Also our Virginia-Highland Security Patrol officers report no major incidents. Let's hope this becomes a trend. 

  Beat 601 Zone 6
Aggravated Assault - 15
Auto Theft 2 48
Burglary Non-Residential - 14
Burglary Residential 1 20
Homicide - 2
Rape - -
Larceny From Vehicle 8 184
Larceny Non-Vehicle 1 104
Robbery Commercial - 3
Robbery Pedestrian - 8
Robbery Residential - 1

Vehicles were entered on Drewry, Greenwood, Maiden Lane, North Highland and Ponce De Leon Avenue (5). All five break-ins on Ponce occurred at #758, the parking lot for the Local. If you patronize establishments in this area, be extra careful to remove all valuables from sight. 
  601  602  613  614
Aggravated Assault - 1 - -
Auto Theft 2 6 1 4
Burglary Non-Residential - - 1 -
Burglary Residential 1 3 1 1
Homicide - - - -
Rape - - - -
Larceny From Vehicle 8 36 13 12
Larceny Non-Vehicle 1 7 2 9
Robbery Commercial - - - -
Robbery Pedestrian - - 0 1
Robbery Residential - - 1 -
Beat 601 = all of Virginia-Highland

Beat 602 = Poncey-Highland and Inman Park

Beat 613 = Morningside and parts of Piedmont Heights and Lindridge Martin Manor

Beat 614 = Part of Midtown East including the Garden District
If you are a resident and not connected with your street captain, please send a message to to be introduced.

If you are not a resident but would like to be added to the distribution for these reports, please send a message to me at with your name, email address, and affiliation. Thanks.
Stay Safe!
Kay Stephenson
Copyright © 2019 Virginia-Highland Safety Team, All rights reserved.