Decatur’s Unfunded Streetscape Improvement Projects Ranked

Ever think to yourself — which unfunded Decatur streetscape improvement projects are the most important to the city right now?


Well, because the Atlanta Regional Commission is asking for 4 years worth of grant applications for its Livable Centers Initiative, you will now be made aware.  A note from Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon to City Manager Peggy Merriss as part of tonight’s City Commission meeting, recommends the top 4 projects to be submitted.

Remember, these are currently unfunded projects. Don’t go asking about McDonough streetscape improvements or some such nonsense.

1. Avondale MARTA Station Streetscape Improvements- Resolution R-15-AA

This request will be submitted by MARTA and is our first priority. The City has been asked to provide the 20% match to pay for streetscape improvements on a new interior street that will be built in the proposed Avondale Station mixed-use development, as well as bicycle and pedestrian facilities throughout the site. The total project budget is $1.5 million, which includes a City match of $300,000. The source of local funding will be HOST proceeds.

2. Clairemont-Commerce-Church Street Pedestrian Safety and Bicycle Trail Improvements Resolution R-15-BB

This grant request will be submitted by the City and it is our second priority. The total budget for this project is $4,162,000 and includes approved funding from several sources, including MARTA ($400,000), local matching funds ($753,000 in GO bond and HOST funds), the LCI program ($2,109,000) and GDOT’s Transportation Enhancement (TE) program ($900,000).

While the LCI funds are available immediately, it appears that the Transportation Enhancement portion of the budget ($900,000) may not be available for 4 years. Our goal in requesting the grant is simply to substitute additional LCI funding for the approved TE funding in the same amount. This would bring to total LCI funding to $3,009,000.

3.  East College Avenue Road Diet- Resolution R-15-CC

This grant request will be submitted by the City and it is our third priority. The City of Avondale Estates will be requesting that College Avenue be narrowed from 4 lanes to 2 lanes within their city limits. We recommend a road diet in Decatur so that the number of vehicle lanes is consistent with Avondale’s plan and to provide enhanced – bicycle and pedestrian facilities the length ofEast College Avenue from South Candler Street to the eastern city limits. The total project budget is $4 million, which includes a City match of $800,000.

4. East Howard Avenue Streetscape Improvements- Resolution R-15-DD

This grant request will be submitted by the City and it is our fourth priority. This project will be Phase VI ofthe downtown streetscape improvements. This area is in a local historic district and we do not anticipate significant additional private redevelopment ofthe streetscape in this area. There are also opportunities to explore green infrastructure and innovative storm water treatment in this part of downtown Decatur. The total project budget is $1 million, which includes a City match of $200,000.

Rendering courtesy of MARTA

15 thoughts on “Decatur’s Unfunded Streetscape Improvement Projects Ranked”

  1. ” Don’t go asking about McDonough streetscape improvements or some such nonsense.”

    This is why I love DM. There’s an enforced expectation that people have a generally good idea how to swim before they jump in the pool. No nonsense!

  2. Is #3 necessary? The whole area around S. Candler is a hot mess at rush hour and needs something, but is this what it actually needs? It’s great if Avondale wants to go on a road diet, I’m just wondering if they wouldn’t have spurred the conversation about the issue, is this something Decatur would have done? It’s a lot of money to do something just because the neighbors did it. But maybe they are taking all the new development into consideration. Who knows.

    1. I agree.
      There’s a bike path parallel with college already. The sidewalks could be improved, but I have never felt unsafe walking along College (as I have walking down S. Candler). When lanes were reduced due to sewer work a few years ago, College got very backed up at certain times of the day.

      Making College safer to cross is much more important, and we haven’t yet seen that done.

      A left turn arrow at College and S. Candler would reduce cut through traffic on Avery

      1. Not only that, but the stretch of College to North Avondale already has significant bike traffic. These are mainly (but by no means exclusively) more serious cyclists who prefer the road to that stretch of the Path, but still — it’s quite bikeable as-is.

  3. How about a road diet on West Howard? Cars on Howard regularly exceed the Interstate speed limit and crossing 4 lanes of that is not a fun or safe experience with a dog or stroller. We have over a mile of West Howard going through densely-populated areas and by my count – a measly 4 places to cross at a crosswalk. The PATH trail that runs through alongside West Howard used to be the envy of progressive towns and burbs across the region, but lately feels ignored at best. I know the Strategic Plan calls for expanding the PATH segment within the city limits to a Beltline-worthy width and providing a protected bike lane beside it but what are we doing to make that a reality? Are we waiting to see what City of Atlanta does with Dekalb Ave?

  4. Who needs walls when a road diet will do the trick? Seriously, Decatur seems hell-bent on making it as frustrating as possible to get into and out of the City for motorists. Not everyone has a walkable/bikeable/MARTAable commute.

    I just had to get that out of me.

    1. I absolutely agree with Robert on the E. College “diet”. Huge new development planned on Decatur’s stretch, already extremely busy, and reducing this to only two lanes makes sense? I guess all you have to do is throw in
      “bike lanes” and in certain quarters, all other brain circuits are disabled. If dedicated left turn lanes are considered a way to make this work, they better be at least a half-mile long. Better get comfortable at home, folks, you’ll be spending more time there.

      James Wiley

  5. I would be more open to “road diets” if Decatur showed any inclination to follow what has been learned in other places. For example, a basic principle of road diets for over 20 years has been the provision of left-turn lanes at almost every intersection, especially any that have significant traffic. This was well known when Decatur designed the narrowing of Ponce de Leon at the Post Office, yet there is no designated left-turn lane for east-bound vehicles on Ponce turning left onto Nelson Ferry. That lack of planning makes it possible for one left-turner at rush hour to back up drivers past St. Thomas More.

    There are numerous other such examples, at least four of which are within a few hundred yards of the intersection named above. If we refuse to learn from others about how road diets need to be implemented, we shouldn’t do them at all.

  6. Absolutely agree on turn lanes, and if the Dekalb Ave debate is any guide, I think that lesson has been learned.

  7. I’ve lived here since the 80’s and I have pretty much decided that City of Decatur has become a neighborly city of homes, schools, places of worship and now, massive parking decks. Unfortunately, these road diets and streetscapes they are planning will make it nearly impossible to get in and out of these massive parking decks efficiently thereby further choking our streets and making traffic a nightmare. I know they are counting on these new apartment dwellers to not use their cars but that simply is not a reality. Even as a pedestrian, it is not pleasant to walk along streets packed with cars. I am looking to get trained in jet pack travel.

    1. A word of caution…don’t buy the ACME jet pack. It has a tendency to sputter out when needed, and get stuck on full blast at the wrong times. I have a friend in the desert southwest who can testify to that.

      1. Argh! Mr. Coyote was going to be my “go to” guy for his expertise in the field of jet pack travel. I will have to seek out someone else. Anyone have George Jetson’s email?

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