Many of Atlanta’s middle school students weren’t even born when a plan was hatched for morphing Midtown’s Juniper Street into a more inviting, safer corridor for multiple forms of urban mobility.

But as of this week, hell hath frozen over, and the ever-delayed Juniper Complete Street Project is underway with actual construction and lane adjustments.

As predicted by Midtown Alliance last month, construction has started near 14th Street and is proceeding south, down the east side of Juniper Street (nearest to Piedmont Park) first. Readers in the area report the “true groundbreaking” appeared to have started Monday, following weeks of preliminary work to mark utilities and fence trees along the street.

Curb work and traffic-lane adjustments are happening at last along Juniper Street. Submitted

One turn lane of 14th Street west-to-southbound onto Juniper has also been closed to help mitigate traffic. Another Juniper Street lane in the area was already shut down for Dewberry Capital’s delayed redevelopment of the Campanile Building, which we’re told by neighbors is proceeding slowly, with a small crew focusing on upper floors.

Conversely, Middle Street Partners’ two-tower development that’s replacing Juniper Street properties long occupied by Einstein’s and Joe’s on Juniper has begun vertical construction at a strong clip in recent weeks.

Other Juniper Street construction this week on Middle Street Partners' two-tower apartment venture and Dewberry's glacial Campanile revival. Submitted

The Juniper Complete 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 TSW design team was hired.

Midtown Alliance officials were once optimistic the project would be fully under construction by late 2016. Behind the scenes, however, a web of delays, dysfunction, and other messes involving the city’s procurement system under previous mayoral administrations was a significant hurdle. Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens appointed a new procurement chief last year, and Midtown Alliance CEO and president Kevin Green has applauded the city’s revised procurement process as being streamlined and sensible.

Changes to Juniper Street will 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.

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.

Courtesy of TSW

The complete-street overhaul will see non-drivers flowing south alongside car traffic in six to seven-foot bike lanes, protected by a system of raised planters and barriers at intersections. Trees and landscaping will be implemented as seasons and weather allow, and fresh asphalt will be laid near the end of construction, officials have said.

Early phases of construction will remove and preserve historic Juniper Street trolley tracks that are currently submerged through the area, as Midtown Alliance relayed in May. Not all blocks of the project are expected to be built in sequential order, due to private developments underway in places.

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.)

Project leaders expect Juniper Street construction to take 20 months, meaning the protected southbound cycling route covering a large portion of Midtown could open in early 2025. We shall see.


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