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Buford Hwy's Alter Ego: Buford Blvd, Leafy Pedestrian Paradise

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Some residents would be thrilled if police could just control crime and gang activity around Buford Highway, but Brookhaven has bigger ideas. According to a plan presented to city council earlier this month, the city would like to turn its part of the six-lane, vegetation-devoid highway into a lovely pedestrian-friendly boulevard chock full o' bike lanes, trees, multi-use paths, mixed-use developments and new businesses. The grand vision is outlined in a report prepared by the Jaeger Company and Urban Partners and is expected to be adopted starting next month. In addition to the physical changes, the plan proposes that the Brookhaven portion of the street be renamed Buford Boulevard to really drive home those improvements and ditch the negative connotations of "Buford Highway."

Along with landscape architecture and livability improvements, the extensive plan also calls for redevelopment of vacant, poorly maintained properties; underdeveloped creekside parcels; aging apartment complexes and overly large parking areas. A market analysis of the area suggested additions such as a prominent hotel with conference facilities, mixed-use developments, trailside luxury apartments, ample affordable housing, townhome developments, luxury condos with skyline views (to replace the Red Roof Inn at the corner of Buford and North Druid Hills) and office space.

To complete the plan, Brookhaven would need to set up a Tax Allocation District, which is expected to see a vote in November. Grants and funds from the Atlanta Regional Commission could fill in the gaps.

· Buford Highway Improvement Plan and Economic Development Strategy [Full Plan]