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En route for Midtown drivers, pedestrians: new street options

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7th Street becomes two-way; plans for street extensions moving forward

For the most part, Atlanta’s streets are basically a confounding cluster, lacking order and the unified, regimented grid that defines most urban areas in the United States.

While Midtown and downtown at least have some semblance of order (in a few areas), there's a lot to be desired by motorists in the city's neighborhoods. But good news could be on the horizon for Midtown in particular.

As part of an ongoing effort to better connect Midtown with itself, a range of street improvements aimed at building out a better grid system — and converting one-way to two-way streets — is underway.

Earlier this month, Midtown Alliance announced the completion of the two-way conversion of 7th Street between West Peachtree Street and Piedmont Avenue. Plans call for the same treatment of 13th Street between Spring Street and Peachtree Walk. The conversion will be phased, with private developers of three projects along the road tapped to complete much of the work.

Meanwhile, around Arts Center, plans are coming together for the extension of 15th Street from its present terminus at West Peachtree to Spring Street and eventually Williams Street to the west.

A grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission adds to funds already devoted to the project by the Georgia Department of Transportation, the City of Atlanta, and the Midtown Improvement District.

While the timeline for the traffic alterations may be a bit more protracted than some would hope, the projects represent the first real effort at adding a more comprehensive, connected network of roads.

And officials believe the benefits of these new streets aren’t just for cars: connected, two-way streets will make it easier for locals and visitors alike to navigate the district without encountering dead-ends, making trips by foot more efficient.