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

Decatur’s Air Quality Worst Along South Candler & Scott Boulevard; Ponce Thru Druid Hills Has Area’s Worst Air Quality

air quality decatur

airquality legend

Check out this cool new map.  You can look at air quality (aka “Particulate Matter levels”) around Atlanta down to the street level!  As the ARC notes on its website…

Understanding air quality at the neighborhood level is also important in addressing land use and site planning- particularly for schools where children are most vulnerable to the effects of air pollution. It can also help us identify communities that are affected, but may be underrepresented in local decision-making.

Not too surprisingly, the air quality is best in residential areas away from major traffic arteries.   So Decatur Heights, Oakhrust and Winnona Park all look pretty good.  School-wise, College Heights, Oakhurst and Winnona Park have the best air quality.

The worst areas aren’t necessarily those that host the most traffic, but the areas where congestion is the worst.  Around Decatur that means the intersections along Scott Boulevard and South Candler fare the worst.   But they are nothing compared to how poor the air quality is along Ponce de Leon Ave between Moreland and Clifton in neighboring Druid Hills(as you can see above), which sees regular congestion during the work week and even often times on weekends.  The other pop of red of the map is at the intersection of North Decatur and Clifton, which sees substantial backups in the afternoons when Emory students and staff get out of work.

And of course, nothing in the Atlanta area compares to the poor air quality around the Connector downtown, especially north of downtown.  Yikes.

Take a look at Decatur and the larger metro region yourself and let us know what you see!

Decatur Looking For Artist To Paint MARTA Overpass Mural


Back in September 2015, you may recall that Decatur won a $15,000 Atlanta Regional Commission grant to paint a mural on the Trinity Avenue MARTA overpass next to the Beacon Hill complex.  In December, the city held a community kick-off meeting to get input on the mural.

Now the city is looking for an artist to make this project a reality.

The Decatur Arts Alliance is requesting qualifications from artists who are interested in creating the mural.  The project will pay the artist $7,500 for their work.

If interested, there is LOTS more info on the project HERE.

Photos courtesy of Decatur Arts Alliance

Decatur Receives $15,000 Public Art Grant for MARTA Trinity Overpass

marta bridge

Back in July, we reported that Decatur had applied for a grant to brighten up the MARTA overpass that stretches over West Trinity Place at Atlanta Ave.

Last week, the ARC announced that Decatur would receive a $15,000 grant for the project, stating…

The Decatur MARTA Overpass bisects several diverse communities while sheltering children waiting for school buses, as well as neighbors and employees walking and riding bikes. Many cars traverse the corridor daily, and thousands of citizens from all over the Atlanta Region ride the Blue Line MARTA train across the overpass every day. In essence, it creates a gateway into these economically and racially diverse communities and provides an opportunity for real connections through meaningful art on this large, durable concrete canvas.

The MARTA Overpass Mural will create neighborhood connections and an exceptional art form that is reflective of the revitalization and vibrancy of this historical community in downtown Decatur.

Atlanta Was #2 in Jobs Growth Among Major Metros in May

Atlanta job snapshot May 15

With so many negative comparisons about Atlanta’s local economy out there (How many more times do we need to see a negative comparison to Nashville and Charlotte?) I figured this was a nice juxtaposition analysis from the Atlanta Regional Commission.

Here are a few findings with some of the more interesting visuals.  You can check out the full presentation HERE.  Enjoy!

When it comes to job change and employment, Atlanta performs well when compared to other U.S. metros. It ranked 2nd in relative job change against 12 other metros over the past year.

atlanta job sectors may15

Metro Atlanta exceeded its pre-recession employment peak in May 2014, finally digging out of the hole the Great Recession wrought.

total employment atl may15

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

UPDATED: Decatur is First to Receive “Platinum” Sustainability Certification From ARC

UPDATE: The City of Decatur sent around a press release, which included this summary of actions taken by the city to receive the platinum certification…

After first achieving Green Communities certification at the Bronze level in 2009, and upgrading to the Gold level in 2010, the City of Decatur has renewed its certification at the Platinum level this year, the first local government to reach the highest achievement possible. Some of the actions Decatur took to become certified include:

  • Developing an Environmental Sustainability Plan as direct response to a charge from the people of the city seeking to become even more environmentally responsible. The plan outlines goals and strategies that the city and community should take to deepen their commitment to serving as good stewards of the environment and resources.

  • Expanding the Safe Routes to School program to include all eligible elementary and middle schools in the Decatur City Schools system along with College Heights Preschool and two private schools. An average of 55 percent of students participate in International Walk and Roll to School Day each year.

  • Committing to building LEED certified facilities, the latest of which, Fire Station No. 1, is on course to obtain LEED Platinum. Sustainable technologies include high efficiency equipment and lighting, green roof garden, a geothermal vertical-closed loop heat pump system, solar water heating, rainwater harvesting and greywater reclamation. The building is designed to achieve a 33 percent reduction in energy consumption and in water usage.

  • Supporting several community gardens with financial and in-kind support. At Decatur’s Kitchen Garden, more than 30 refugee families grow hundreds of pounds of fresh food each season, combating hunger that their families and neighbors face. The produce is also sold at the Decatur Farmers Market and a number of Decatur restaurants.

From the Atlanta Regional Commission’s website.  If you want to learn more about how local governments are graded in this certification process, click here.

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