When it comes to pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure, it’s shaping up to be an eventful spring in Midtown.
First came news last month of a new parklet in a high-profile place: where Peachtree Street meets 11th Street, at the base of the 1010 Midtown tower. Then, last week, barrier-separated bike lanes seemed to appear overnight on 10th and 14th streets, with flex posts and fresh green paint.
Now a Midtown complete street project that’s been in the works for 13 long years is destined to start becoming real next month, according to Midtown Alliance, the nonprofit neighborhood organization leading each infrastructure change listed above.
Midtown Alliance officials report that pre-construction efforts are underway for the Juniper Complete Street Project—and that construction is scheduled to begin in May.
The Juniper Street initiative was officially put out for bid in September, and the construction contract was awarded by Midtown Alliance in early February.
Project leaders expect construction to take 20 months, meaning the protected new southbound cycling route covering a large portion of Midtown would open in early 2025.
The Juniper Street project 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.
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. The alterations are designed to ensure “vehicular traffic moves through at a steady (yet calmer) pace,” per a project summary.
Vehicle lanes will be reduced to two, and dedicated parallel parking will be installed within a new buffer lane in places. Other additions would include plantings, bioswales, lighting, and street furniture, Midtown Alliance officials have said.
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 back in 2010, when a design team was hired, and it’s been a long slog since.
Midtown Alliance heads 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 proved 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 more streamlined and sensible.
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