Decatur Gets $1.77 Million For N. McDonough Streetscape Improvements

North McDonough sure has come a long way in the past couple years.

Once one of Decatur’s least inviting streets, home to little more than front of the Decatur High School and the western facade of the Marble House, this major city corridor has new life in recent years with the addition of new businesses like Village Vets and Relics & Rarities and of course the High School’s new auditorium and stadium.

And now Decatur can finally put the icing on the cake.

Just last month, the city heard that it had received preliminary approval of a $1.77 million grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Livable Centers Initiative to make improvements to McDonough’s streetscape.

Assitant City Manager Lyn Menne notes…

We had applied several times in the past but hadn’t gotten the grant – for several reasons I think. They try to spread the funding around and we have several streetscape projects in the works. It also helps that we have funding in place for the intersection improvement at the railroad intersection at the south end and funding in place for streetscape improvements along Trinity at the northern end of this corridor and the high school construction is completed and should generate more pedestrian activity with the gym, performing arts center and stadium improvements. All the pieces were in place to complete this last bit of the network to the south side and Agnes Scott.

The city will have to match 20% of the cost – around $354,000 – which is available from the Capital Bond Project Fund.

11 thoughts on “Decatur Gets $1.77 Million For N. McDonough Streetscape Improvements”

    1. John, the pic above should give some indication of the proposed changes. Also, here’s the bulleted list from the Community Transportation Plan for N. McDonough…

      North McDonough Street
      – Rebuild the street from College Avenue to West Trinity Place.
      – Reduce the number of travel lanes and redesign the parking to provide over 100 new diagonal parking spaces on both sides of McDonough Street between the southernmost Decatur High School circular drive and the existing entrances to Chick-Fil-A (east side) and County building (west side).
      – Provide one travel lane in each direction with no median.
      – The existing curbs can be retained.
      – Sidewalk and streetscape improvements are recommended.
      – The new parking can be used to replace the existing Decatur High School parking lot which should be closed for traffic reasons (safety of left-turns across the railroad tracks) and could be torn up and replaced with a grassy field or student plaza area.

  1. The drawing shown in the post was a concept plan developed several years ago by the consultant team that has worked on the design of the other phases of the downtown streetscape project. The transportation plan included a different concept that DM describes above. Both options are simply concepts or ideas that need to be explored in greater detail along with other ideas that may be generated during public input sessions that will be held as part of the design process. We want to involve residents, property owners and business owners along the corridor as well as City Schools of Decatur in these discussions. As soon as we know about scheduling, we will post meeting dates.

  2. I wonder if this project will be done before the E. Trinity/south Church St streetscape that was supposedly approved several years ago but hasn’t had one shovel turned?

  3. Well, ultimately it will require the review and approval of the Georgia Department of Transportation because the grant funds are federal transportation dollars that flow through that department. We have been frustrated with the delays on the Trinity streetscape project, the Ponce/Trinity bicycle lanes and the Oakhurst Business district streetscape but are beginning to see some movement on all of these projects. Considering the millions of dollars we are getting in grant funds, the saying “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” comes to mind. The delays are frustrating but without the money we wouldn’t be able to fund these important streetscape improvements. Just keep thinking about how beautiful it’s going to look when we finally get the money and get these projects built.

  4. I hope an arborist is consulted for the longevity and safety of the trees that are incorporated into the design. Five feet is narrow but doable if the space is contiguous and latest street tree planing technology is used. Incorporating trees in more work and money upfront but the roi is big in terms of economic development and safety. Recent studies have demonstrated that trees slow traffic and thereby improve safety for pedestrians and traffic. The benefits of slower speeds significantly offsets the probability of injury due to impact with a tree along the road. Unfortunately, I do not think GDOT has incorporated this into their models yet. For info go to

      1. The City recently conducted an inventory of trees along Ponce, and while most trees were in good to excellent condition their has also been a high rate of attrition, especially the trees that have been planted the last 2-10 years. While unproven, I believe one of the reasons is that the root barriers in more recently planted trees were incorrectly installed. Also the larger trees are creating structural issues that will most likely need to be addressed in the near future. Ideally, one wants to maximize crown size and longevity without compromising structural integrity. It is possible but requires forethought and an investment up front during installation. The City has shown interest and I plan to help!

  5. All of our streetscape projects have included landscape architects on the design team and our trees are specifically chosen because of their ability to withstand urban conditions. All of the downtown streetscape projects have been funded through GDOT and we have been able to get the street trees approved. None of the downtown streets are state highways so that helps.

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