Decatur Awarded $100K Grant To Study Development At East Lake MARTA Station

Now that the redevelopment of the giant Avondale MARTA parking-scape is underway, the focus has turned to the city’s third – and least utilized – MARTA station.  East Lake!

The Atlanta Regional Commission recently announced its annual Livable Cities Initiative Grants.  Among the 10 recipients is the City of Decatur, which received $100,000 to…

…develop conceptual plans for development at the East Lake MARTA Station and pedestrian/bicycle connections to surrounding neighborhoods and amenities.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Work Begins on North McDonough 2-Way “Cycle Track” and Other Pedestrian Improvements


It’s been a long time since the city got word back in 2010 that it won an LCI grant to improve ped/bike facilities along North McDonough.  But that’s how it goes with Federal and State dollars.  Deputy Mayor Hugh Saxon was always very clear that it would take many years to work thru the red tape to get this project started.

But enduring all that red tape has paid off!  All and all, the city has managed to find fed and state money that will pay for a little of two-thirds of the total cost of the $5.5 million project.  No small feat.

But there’s no time to sit and gloat about our grant writing skills!  To work!

Work has just begun on transforming the old up-down speed zone into a more pedestrian and bike friendly avenue.

How friendly? The Decatur Extreme Makeover website states that improvements include “reducing North McDonough to 2 vehicle lanes, wider sidewalks, and a 2-way “cycle track” on the west side of the street, along with traditional streetscape improvements and on-street parking. The project will also feature “green infrastructure” improvements to improve storm water quality.”  (We’ve reported all this before, but they just summed it up so nicely.)

The project will also work to improve pedestrian accessibility and safety at the dreaded train track crossing. Additionally for the gasoline-addicted 🙂 “New traffic signals allowing protected left turns on all legs of the 2 crossings are to be installed as well.”

The city promises that the project will be noisy and inconvenient and will take between 12-18 months.  But heck if it won’t be a whole lot purdier when all is said and done!

Avondale Receives Livable Centers Initiative Grant to Study Roundabout and Road Diet Feasibility

The Atlanta Regional Commission announced the 2014 recipients of the Livable Centers Initiative grants yesterday.  Among the recipients were the neighboring cities of Avondale and Clarkston.  Here are the descriptions of the grants for the two cities…

City of Avondale Estates, $50,000, to study the feasibility of a roundabout, road diet and “Better Block” demonstration project.
City of Clarkston, $80,000, for a major plan update.

This is the second straight year that Avondale has received a grant.  In 2013, the city received a grant for a “major plan update and a downtown master plan”.


Commission Set To Accept $2.1 Million Agreement with GDOT for C-Streets Ped/Bike Improvement Plan

Funny…I just this past week openly wondered on the status of this transportation project.

At tonight’s meeting, Decatur’s City Commission will vote on an agreement between the city and the Georgia Department of Transportation for the Clairemont-Commerce-Church Street Pedestrian Safety and Bicycle Trail Improvements.  The agreement, which was originally announced way back in November 2011, will provide $2.1 million for the project from the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Livable Centers Initiative program.

The entire C-Streets project is estimated to cost $4.2 million.  So where will the rest of the funding come from?  A letter from Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon details the sources…

We anticipate a total construction budget of about $4,162,000 for the project from the following sources:

  • MARTA $400,000

  • TE Program 900,000

  • LCI Program 2,109,000

  • GO 2007 565,000

  • HOST 188,000

  • Total $4,162,000

Mr. Saxon also projects the project wouldn’t start until 2017.

Need a refresher on the C-Streets pedestrian and bike improvements plan?  Click HERE.

Decatur Awarded $2.1 Million for C-Streets Ped/Biking Improvements

Thomas Wheatley – famed trustafarian of the “wheat” family dynasty – reports on Fresh Loaf that the Atlanta Regional Commission has announced a new round of grant-recipients for the Livable Centers Initiative.  Along with a $4 million grant for the Beltline to build a ramp that connects with Ponce (near Ponce City Market aka City Hall East aka the old Sears Warehouse) is a $2.1 million grant for the City of Decatur towards our Clairemont/Commerce/Church Street pedestrian and biking improvements.  According to the Amber Waves of Wheatley, the grants require a local match.

Other area recipients include: Doraville, New Peachtree Bike and Pedestrian Improvements ($2.3 million), Midtown Atlanta, Juniper Street Bike and Pedestrian Facilities ($3.4 million) DeKalb County, Lake Hearn Drive, Perimeter Summit Parkway, Parkside Place Bike and Pedestrian Facilities ($3.1 million), DeKalb, Tucker Streetscape, ($960,000).

What’s a $2.1 million grant mean for the timeline of this Decatur project?  Guess I’ll just have to ask the city!

Decatur Set to Apply for Grant Money for “C Streets” If TIA Funding Fails

At tonight’s commission meeting, Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon will ask the Decatur City Commission to approve a $1.9 million grant application to the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Livable Center Initiative to fund improvements to “Clairemont-Commerce-Church Pedestrian Safety and Bicycle Trial Improvements.”

As Mr. Saxon lays out in his letter to the City Manager (page 14 of the meeting materials) the projected total cost of the project is $3.5 mil, of which $1.125 mil is covered by a Federal Transportation Enhancement Grant (which I don’t recall hearing about previously).

That leaves a cool $2.375 mil left to be paid for.  Currently, Decatur still has $5 million tagged in Atlanta’s transportation sales tax project list for funding this project, but if that falls through, this LCI grant is the backup plan.  Decatur would need to put up a 20% match ($475,000) to get the grant, which Mr. Saxon says will be available in the capital improvement fund balance in two years, when this project can be expected to begin.

This “ask” (as the cool kids say) comes just days before a public meeting regarding these ped/bike improvements at City Hall next Monday.

The city’s influential Transportation Plan calls for wider sidewalks and crosswalks, countdown signals for pedestrians, changes to the signal timing and traffic lanes at these intersections (Commerce @ Clairemont can be seen above).  The plan recommends the Church Street/Commece intersection be narrowed from 60 to 45 feet.  Lots more in this PDF.

North McDonough Streetscape Improvements Taking Shape

Among the items on tonight’s Decatur City Commission agenda is approval of a North McDonough “scoping phase report” that the city must submit to the Atlanta Regional Commission in order to receive the Livable Cities Initiative grant for streetscape improvements along the thoroughfare.

In his letter to the commission, Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon gives an overview of what the project is looking like after a couple community conversations…

The proposed concept receiving the most support includes reducing North McDonough to 2 vehicle lanes, widening sidewalks on both sides of the street, and a 2-way “cycle track” on the west side of the street, along with traditional streetscape improvements and on-street parking.

Have an indescribable love/hatred of any of these plans?  Mr. Saxon states there will be additional community meetings to refine this plan as the project moves forward.