Any day now, a street overhaul through the heart of Midtown designed to promote walkability and protect non-drivers is expected to finally break ground, following 13 long years of planning and delays.
The 12-block initiative is called the Juniper Complete Street Project, and it was designed—years ago, at this point—by Atlanta-based TSW.
To help gain a better understanding of exactly what’s in store, TSW senior associate David Lintott dug through archives and supplied a half-dozen older renderings that remain accurate today, most of them lending a new street-level perspective of a revised Juniper Street. (Find those images in the gallery above, with an overview map in segments below.)
The Juniper Street project was officially put out for bid in September, and the construction contract was awarded by Midtown Alliance in early February. It went to SD&C general contractors, the low-bidder, per Midtown Alliance officials.
Changes are planned to cover 12 blocks, implementing a one-way cycletrack that starts at 14th Street near Colony Square and Piedmont Park and travels down to Ponce de Leon Avenue. The complete-street overhaul will see non-drivers flowing south with car traffic in six to seven-foot bike lanes, protected by a system of raised planters and barriers at intersections.
Midtown Alliance reported this week the project has received all necessary permits from the city, and environmental approvals from federal and state agencies. Interestingly, that includes an agreement to remove and preserve historic Juniper Street trolley tracks that are currently submerged through the area.
Construction is scheduled to start sometime this month near 14th Street and will likely continue down the east side of Juniper Street (nearest to Piedmont Park) first.
Workers will then start again from 14th Street and repeat that pattern on the west side. Trees and landscaping will be completed as seasons and weather allow, and fresh asphalt will be laid near the end of construction, according to Midtown Alliance.
“Some block faces may not be constructed in sequential order,” reads a project update distributed this week, “due to private developments simultaneously under construction that must be accommodated.”
Project leaders expect construction to take 20 months, meaning the protected southbound cycling route covering a large portion of Midtown would open in early 2025.
Vehicle lanes will be reduced to two, and dedicated parallel parking will be installed within a new buffer lane in places. Other additions will include bioswales, LED lighting, and street furniture. The alterations are designed to ensure “vehicular traffic moves through at a steady (yet calmer) pace,” per a project summary.
One block east, a 1.1-mile system of northbound bike lanes is also in the works for Piedmont Avenue, stretching from Ponce de Leon Avenue up to 15th Street at Piedmont Park. (At last check, the Piedmont Avenue upgrades were expected to start construction this year as well.)
The Juniper Street project is expected to cost $8.7 million, funded with a mix of city transportation impact fees, federal and state grants, and Midtown Improvement District funds. The idea was first hatched way back in 2010, when a design team was hired.
Here's an overview of planned changes, shown in three segments, beginning to the north at Colony Square and heading south to Ponce:
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