N. McDonough To Be Closed Overnight Tonight and Thursday

And you thought getting around Decatur was hard during the daytime!    OK, give it to us straight “Extreme Makeover” website

The impact

North McDonough Street will be closed overnight to through traffic between Trinity Place and East Maple Street beginning Wednesday, April 19, and then repeating on Thursday, April 20. Each temporary closure will begin at 11:00pm and end the following morning at 6:00am. Everything is expected to be completed by Friday morning.

This will allow construction of a new storm drainage system as part of the North McDonough streetscape improvements.

How to manage

A detour will be in place each evening. Consult the map below for greater detail (click image for larger view).

Detour Alert: McDonough @ Howard Intersection Closed This Saturday; No Impact to Tour deCatur Race

From the Extreme Makeover: Downtown Decatur website

The impact

The intersection at McDonough and Howard will be closed again on Saturday, March 11 to complete the grading and resurfacing associated with the reconstruction of the railroad crossing. This will allow the pavement to be raised to provide a gentler slope on the north side of the crossing and an accessible path for persons in wheelchairs or those using strollers. Parts of the PATH Foundation’s Stone Mountain Trail near the crossing will be closed to bicycle traffic as well.

How to manage

There will be no traffic through the McDonough-Howard intersection on Saturday, March 11. However, East and West Howard and North McDonough will be open to local traffic. Consult the detour map below for greater detail (click images for larger view).

No impact is expected on the Tour deCatur road race on Saturday morning.

Here’s a useful map…

N. McDonough Rail Crossing Rebuild Is Finally Underway

You’re Your teenage children were probably still in diapers when talk began about redesigning and rebuilding the N. McDonough rail intersection.

From Mayor Garrett’s recent email blast…

…work has begun on reconstruction of the North McDonough railroad crossing. Parts of the PATH Foundation’s Stone Mountain Trail have been demolished and will be replaced temporarily with compacted gravel during construction. The larger project, which includes rail crossings at both McDonough and Candler, will significantly improve accessibility and safety for pedestrians and bicyclists, further encouraging those who live in Winnona Park, the McDonough-Adams-Kings Highway community, and other neighborhoods south of the CSX rail corridor to walk and bike into downtown Decatur.

More details can be found on the Decatur Extreme Makeover website.

Decatur Anticipates Railroad Crossing Improvements Construction to Start in Early 2016

candler crossing

Tonight, the Decatur City Commission will consider signing an agreement with CSX in the amount of $230,000 to pay for a critical piece of the long-discussed (we been talking about it since at LEAST 2009!) railroad crossing improvements at McDonough and Candler Streets.

According to a letter from Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon to the commission, this amount is related to the construction that will occur within the CSX right-of-way. CSX requires that it will install the new surfaces in the right of way at both crossings and review and approve all plans.

According to Mr. Saxon, CSX estimates the costs for this piece of the project as…

  • Engineering and Construction Inspections – $37,000
  • McDonough Crossing – Flagging and Construction – $96,500
  • Candler Crossing – Flagging and Construction – $96,500

Check out the original plan for the Candler crossing above and the McDonough crossing below.   You can also find out more about these projects on the city’s website.

The City was awarded Transportation Enhancement project money for a large part of the total cost for these crossing improvements way back in 2008, but all the coordination with the many parties involved (CSX, GDOT, etc), destined it to be a long, drawn out process.  Could it finally be happening?

mcdonough crossing

North McDonough and Railroad Crossing Improvements Meeting Next Thursday

From this month’s Decatur Focus

Update on N. McDonough Streetscape improvements and railroad crossings

The community is invited to a workshop for updates on the N. McDonough Streetscape improvements and railroad crossing improvements at both Candler and McDonough streets. The workshop will be held Nov. 13, 6-8 p.m., in the City Commission Meeting Room, Decatur City Hall, 509 N. McDonough St.

The goals of the projects are to improve safety and accessibility for pedestrians, bi- cyclists and others using these facilities. They are based on Decatur’s 2008 Community Transportation Plan, a major goal of which is to encourage healthy lifestyles and active living in Decatur.

URS Corporation of Atlanta, a planning and engineering design firm, will help plan the projects along with Sprinkle Consulting of Lutz, Florida, a design firm that special- izes in bicycle and pedestrian planning. The projects will be funded through the Capital Improvements Bond program, grants from the Georgia Department of Transportation, the Atlanta Regional Commission and MARTA.

Mock ups of N. McDonough from way back in 2010.

Commission Approves Agreement with GDOT; Expect N. McDonough Streetscape in 4-7 Years

You may think that because the City Commission just approved an “agreement” with the Georgia Department of Transportation at their meeting last night – which will provide $1,415,867 in federal funding (through the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Livable Centers Initiative) for the North McDonough streetscape improvements – that you might see bulldozers and men decked out in orange down by the high school any day now.

And you would be so very wrong.

According to Decatur Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon, construction on the project will not begin for 4-7 years.

And it’s not for a lack of trying by the city.  They’ve already hired a design firm (which is being paid for with MARTA “off-set” funding) – the same design firm that’s doing the railroad crossing designs – and have held multiple meetings with residents about what they want to see along North McDonough in the future.

The hold up is due to just one adjective in my first sentence: “federal”.  As Mr. Saxon explained to the City Commission last night, because this is a federally funded project, the city will be required to jump through countless hoops (a full environmental review that was mentioned last night) over the next few YEARS in order to finally get the money in hand to pay for the physical improvements.

So, if you have kids in high school, you might want to break the news that they probably will never walk along wider sidewalks up to the Square before they graduate.  HOWVER, if you’ve got a 7 year-old, get that kid jazzed because in 7 years time “Streetscapes baby!”.

Decatur’s First Fire Truck

If Decatur still had possession of THIS fire truck, I’m pretty confident that the city’s “Touch a Truck Day” would no longer be dominated by kids.  Car and history buffs would stand in long lines, wide-eyed, jumping in place, giggling, waiting for their chance to sit in this beauty, making all the relevant fire truck noises with their mouths.

But seriously, even if you’re not into historic vehicles, the photo is worth a look.  (I can’t post it here because like most state-owned photos, I’d have to fill out a form and make payment to display it here.)  Three Decatur Fire Fighters (circa 1914) pose in the photograph along McDonough Street in the city’s brand-new, $8,000 fire truck.  According to a note attached to the photo, it was the city’s first truck after the fire department’s establishment the same year.

The Old Courthouse’s tower is also viewable in the picture, along with a “hardware store” and Turner Funeral Home.

P.S.  Next Stop’s got another nice pic of East Courthouse Square up on his site, featuring what is now the Lenz Building prior to its “modern” facade transformation.  To get your bearings, the Brick Store Pub building is currently at the far left-side of the photo.