Category Archives: bicycle

Valdosta City Council Town Hall 2019-09-30

Most people missed a chance to ask whatever they wanted of the Valdosta City Council, without time limits or fear of ejection from the room. This town hall, hosted by Council members Andy Gibbs and Eric Howard, apparently was not announced on Valdosta’s own website nor in the Valdosta Daily Times. But Gretchen Quarterman was there for LAKE and videoed it, and provided the notes below. The few people who did attend were interested enough to take an hour and a half of their time to participate in the community and local government.

      People are sometimes afraid to speak

George Boston Rhynes noted that people might fear even coming to this kind of meeting, because of fear of retaliation, by being blackballed for jobs, or in other ways.

Lowndes County Commissioner Scottie Orenstein was there, and occasionally answered, as did Valdosta City Council Tim Carroll. City Council Sonny Vickers was also there.

Sidewalks were a major topic. Gretchen wondered why every street doesn’t have one. Instead, the city thinks it will improve traffic on Bemiss Road by making it wider.

Naturally, Taxes in County and City and property values were a major topic. Valdosta City Council Sandra Tooley said she thought sidewalks make property values go up, so why should the county get any of that tax money when the city paid to put the sidewalks in? Others misunderstood that, and more discussion ensued. People remain confused about how SPLOST works between city and county.

Back on transportation, a final speaker spelled out how Valdosta is not bicycle-friendly, so children can’t ride bicycles to school, students to VSU, employees to work, or people to see friends, because it is not safe. Same for Lowndes County: not safe for this healthy, family-friendly activity and transportation method. Andy Gibbs said this is one of the topics being gathered into the Parks and Rec. Master Plan, currently in progress.

Below are links to each LAKE video, followed by a LAKE video playlist. Continue reading

SGRC Regional Plan Update Workshop in Valdosta 2017-09-21

Received yesterday:

Good Morning,

A quick reminder for our 1st Regional Plan Update Workshop on:

September 21st, 2017 9:30a to 12:30p

Valdosta SGRC Offices at 327 W. Savannah Ave

The first workshop will cover the following topics:

Regional Bicycle Corridors
Regional Bicycle Corridors

  1. Review the existing issues and opportunities within the Region and determine whether Continue reading

Green corridors are good for people, business, plants, and animals

Some of this is happening locally: Valdosta is planting trees along Hill Avenue, Lowndes County is building Naylor Park with a boat ramp that will be part of the Alapaha River Water Trail and VLPRA has long been thinking about a blueway on the Withlacoochee River, where it already has a string of parks and ramps. Valdosta has the Azalea City Trail across several parks and VSU. Imagine if that Trail extended a little farther on each end, connecting the Withlacoochee River and the Alapaha River: a greenway between two blueways. Imagine if Lowndes County planted trees in that concrete median in Bemiss Road. Imagine a bus running down that parkway….

Janice Astbury, the nature of cities, 29 March 2015, Green Transport Routes Are Social-Cultural-Ecological Corridors,

…natural corridors do not appear on the standard online GPS systems that people increasingly use to plan their routes. In other cases, the path is suddenly interrupted by infrastructure hostile to pedestrians and cyclists. It is clear that green and active transport routes are an afterthought, an add-on, rather than a core part of the city’s transport strategy.

Local government should invest in developing and maintaining the natural connective tissue of the city. In the same way that significant investment is made in arterial roads because they are believed to serve everyone and to connect up vital places, so inviting connective green infrastructure should be supported. The canals, footpaths, and cycleways that provide routes for active transport should appear prominently on maps and signage. Whole systems should be indicated when possible, even when portions of them are currently inaccessible, in order to enhance system understanding, and to encourage thinking about connecting up fragmented corridors.

Few people complain when a county or city spends millions of dollars on Continue reading

Videos: Roads and bicycles @ ZBOA 2014-12-02

Here is video of the decisions about lot width on Bemiss Road and sidewalk and bicycle requirements on Inner Perimeter Road at ZBOA, 2:30 PM 2 December 2014. They also elected Gretchen Quarterman Vice-Chair since Scottie Orenstein was moving on the being on the County Commission, and re-elected Allan Strickland Chair.

Here’s the agenda, followed by the video, plus links from each agenda item into the video. Continue reading

Roads and bicycles @ ZBOA 2014-12-02

300x222 3472 Bemiss Road VAR-2014-14, in Roads and Bicycles at ZBOA, by John S. Quarterman, 2 December 2014 Lot width on Bemiss Road and sidewalk and bicycle requirements on Inner Perimeter Road at ZBOA, tomorrow, 2:30 PM 2 December 2014.

Here’s the agenda. The City of Valdosta puts ZBOA agendas and minutes online in real PDFs.

Valdosta -Lowndes County Zoning Board of Appeals

Continue reading

Open House at Mildred Hunter on Common Community Vision @ VLMPO 2013-10-23

“We have broadband”, said Bill Slaughter, while other people had different opinions on that and other topics Wednesday night at the Mildred Hunter Community Center.

Corey Hull introduced the session and a small but vocal group of citizens discussed all the main topic headings. He noted that there are more than twelve plans already in place in the various cities and counties in the Valdosta Lowndes Metropolitan Planning Area. Yet there were many common themes in those plans, and VLMPO was looking for other common areas in these meetings and online, and more specifically strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. If you have a community group of any size, VLMPO can come talk to it. They’ve been to the Chamber, to Rotary, to churches, etc. They expect to wrap this process up in December, with common vision and goals for the next ten or twenty years.

Matt Martin Local officials present included Matt Martin, Planning and Zoning Administrator for the City of Valdosta, and Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter. Martin didn’t say much, but Bill Slaughter was quite vocal. I thanked him for speaking up, even though I didn’t agree with everything he said. He helped clarify current county codes for stormwater retention, and Martin helped clarify the city’s codes.

As a long-time participant in local development (he’s CEO of Waller Heating and Air) Slaughter said when people are buying houses all they look at is Continue reading

Common Community Vision for Lowndes County

What do you the citizens want Lowndes County to be? Here’s a chance to speak up, so when somebody asks where were you when the decisions were being made, you don’t have to answer “lying on the couch watching television.” (Thanks to Nolen Cox for that phrase.)

Corey Hull wrote on facebook today, Help Spread the Word for the Future of Lowndes County,

My office is conducting a survey and gathering public input on Facebook (go to about what they want the Lowndes County Common Community Vision to be ( So far our participation has been low. I am calling on all of you to encourage your friends, family and colleagues to spread the word and let us know what you think about the future of Lowndes County and its cities.

Over the next two months there will be future opportunities for public input so stay tuned.

Thanks for your help.

On the Southern Georgia Regional Commission’s website, Lowndes County Common Community Vision, Continue reading

Expansion of Azalea City Trail for bicycles

More bicycling soon in Valdosta. Still no map of Azalea City Trail on Valdosta’s website that I can find. The picture of bicyclers comes from Parks and Rec. Heads-up by Corey Hull of VLPRA.

Valdosta PR 1 August 2013, Portion of Williams Street Closed for Improvements and Expansion of Azalea Trail,

On Monday, August 5, the City of Valdosta will begin construction on the Williams Street Improvements Project. The project, which spans from Ashley Street to Park Avenue, will include the reconstruction of the Williams Street centerline, new curbs and gutters at various locations, minor storm drainage repairs and a new asphalt surface.

The project also features the construction of a 10-foot wide sidewalk that will tie into the existing 2.7 mile Azalea Trail, which currently stretches from the Vallotton Youth Complex to the Craig Center on Gordon Street. This multi-purpose trail will soon after be extended to Woodrow Wilson Drive, providing additional recreational opportunities and a safe route for citizens traveling to the South Georgia Regional Library.

During the construction, Continue reading

Bicycle Workshop June 10th –VLMPO

Biking is the lead story in the Spring Transportation Newsletter from the Valdosta-Lowndes Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Southern Georgia Regional Commission.

Regional Bicycle Workshop On Monday, June 10, 2013, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. the Southern Georgia Regional Commission will host a Regional Bicycle Workshop to discuss local bicycle infrastructure planning and safety efforts.

Bicycling is becoming a more popular mode of transportation throughout the nation and here in Southern Georgia. Our pleasant climate and relatively flat landscape makes bicycling popular for both commuting and recreation. Individuals of all ages are bicycling more for various reasons, whether it be to save money on gas, to get to work or the store, for exercise, or to go see a friend across town.

GA Bicycle Route 10 This event will feature speakers on the topics of challenges to building bicycle friendly infrastructure, bicycle safety and how our communities can be healthy, happy, wealthy and wise when it comes to bicycling. Brent Buice, from Georgia Bikes! will help lead a discussion on what our communities can do to become more bicycle friendly.

To RSVP for this event, please contact Corey Hull at or at 229-333-5277.

The newsletter also has a list of bike trails, with a pointer to Public Hiking and Walking Trails of Southern Georgia. The state also has maps of bicycle routes, including this one for the Valdosta area:

Continue reading

What people are interested in having their pennies spent on —Gretchen Quarterman

Received yesterday on Allocate resources in a yearly budget? -jsq

As I was out campaigning, it was interesting what people are interested in having their pennies spent on. Many want better sidewalks and safer places to ride their bikes. One Valdosta police officer particularly commented on the dangerous bike riding conditions (especially on North Oak Extension). Many in the un-incorporated areas want increased fire protection and it seems that everyone better drainage (and I don't mean simply open ditches for rain water) and still others would like to see some soccer fields.

It seems like we should be able to do some prioritizations and then save up for these things. I guess that will be up to the new commission chairman and members and they will have to figure out how to move forward without a SPLOST immediately in 2014.

Personally, I'd like to see a public accounting of how the previous SPLOSTS were spent. And not in big categories, but the actual details… But that's just me.

-Gretchen Quarterman