DeKalb Avenue’s days as a pothole-plagued, statistically dangerous dragstrip between downtown Atlanta and Decatur could be numbered.

The Atlanta City Council on Monday unanimously approved $5.4 million for safety improvements on Decatur Street and DeKalb Avenue—changes that bicycling advocates and other urbanist groups have been formally lobbying for since 2014.  

The work would span from Jackson Street in Sweet Auburn to the city limits at Ridgecrest Road. That corridor, roughly four and a 1/2 miles, is dotted with six MARTA stations.

According to city officials, improvements will include the removal of DeKalb Avenue’s controversial “suicide” middle lane, road resurfacing, and sidewalk repairs. A dedicated left turn will be installed, along with bike lanes along certain sections.

The scope of the complete street project plans. City of Atlanta; Renew Atlanta/2020

“The improvements coming to Dekalb Avenue are important to our administration’s plan for safer streets,” Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in a prepared statement. “Making the road inclusive for drivers, bike riders, and pedestrians will give all residents more secure ways to get around and ultimately make our city safer.”

The Atlanta Department of Transportation will oversee all aspects of construction.

City officials tell Urbanize Atlanta that construction is expected to start in August, weather permitting, once a construction contract is finalized. It’s estimated to take two years to complete.  

We’re told the area in question has numerous underground utilities and extensive pavement damage—complexities that spurred Atlanta DOT officials to add the option for a one-year extension to the contract.

For a more detailed look at what DeKalb Avenue’s future may be, head to this story from April, wherein Rebecca Serna, Atlanta Bicycle Coalition’s executive director, provided a detailed tour of proposed changes—and context for why they're needed. 

• DeKalb Avenue is an embarrassment, but changes are planned soon (Urbanize Atlanta)