Transportation main topic at first Gwinnett town hall

How to get around in Gwinnett was the primary topic of conversation at a town hall meeting with county leaders Tuesday. It was the first of four such events county commissioners will hold this spring.

About two dozen residents attended the meeting, at the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center, to complain and to praise. Commissioners weren’t often able to solve their problems, but said they appreciated the chance to hear from residents.

“We can’t tackle issues that we’re not aware of,” Commissioner Jace Brooks told the crowd.

Bob Giselbach, who lives in Buford, came to the meeting to ask for higher speed limits on a stretch of road near his house, and for Amtrak service in the county. He noted that the train already goes through several cities, but that Gwinnett residents must drive to Atlanta or Gainesville to get on board.

“I’d love to be able to get on commuter rail,” Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash said. “I love the idea of a station for Amtrak in the county.”

Shereese Mitchell, a Lawrenceville resident, asked for improved sidewalks and better bus service. Nash told her the number of bus routes remained limited in the county “because of the cost of service.”

“It’s very expensive to provide,” she said. “I freely admit the local bus service is limited in nature.”

In regard to the sidewalks, Nash added, additions were in the works: “It’s a big ol’ county and we’ve grown so rapidly in a short period of time that we have to catch up on some things,” she said.

Others got the commissioners’ advice on difficult homeowners associations, requested expanded recycling service or asked for help with noise complaints.

“This has been wonderful,” said Mary Ingram, a Buford resident. “I wish more people were here.”

The next town hall will be held March 26 at the Dacula Park Activity Building. It will be followed by meetings at the Pinckneyville Park Community Recreation Center on April 23 and the Hudgens Center for the Arts May 12. All meetings start at 7 p.m., with an open house that begins at 6:15 p.m.

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