Last night, Midtown Alliance held their quarterly neighborhood meeting to provide updates on the gangbusters development happening in the area.
Held in the atrium of Colony Square — an iconic property in the process of a major renovation by North American Properties in time for its 50th anniversary — the meeting highlighted plans for managing growth that's still progressing at a frenzied pace.
While the skyline has changed dramatically in the last five years, there are no signs of the cranes slowing down. According to Kevin Green, Midtown Alliance President and CEO, there are currently 20 high-rises under construction in the area. Tallying those projects next to recently completed and proposed developments ... well, the numbers are astounding.
More than 10,000 residential units, bringing an estimated 14,000 residents, are in the pipeline for coming years. Additionally, announcements in the last year of companies moving to Midtown mean an influx or more than 8,000 new jobs in the area.
Despite the boom, Green noted that 25 percent of the land in Midtown still remains ripe for development, suggesting there could be no end in sight. But to manage the anticipated increase in population, he stressed, the area's infrastructure must improve.
According to recent studies by Midtown Alliance, 41 percent of Midtown workers and residents feel that pedestrian safety should be the highest priority. Coupled with an additional 20 percent who feel the same way about bike safety, the statistics clearly show that the car is falling out of favor in Midtown.
To build off the district's successes — Midtown has already added 15 linear miles of spiffed up streetscape, including more than 1,000 streetlights and 1,000 trees — plans call for the repurposing of approximately seven percent of vehicular travel lanes to accommodate the growing contingent of pedestrians and bicyclists, Green said.
Projects like the Juniper complete street conversion will become more common, and the building out of the street grid system and the signalizing of more pedestrian crossings are other priorities. There’s even talk of reducing speed limits in Midtown to 25 MPH.
Beyond just pedestrians and bicyclists, Midtown Alliance has noted that an overwhelming majority — some 94 percent of those surveyed — feel that transit is a very high or high priority. The statistic marks a 20-percent increase in such sentiments over the last three years, offering an encouraging sign for TSPLOST this fall.
So Midtown is taking the longview as it plans for the future — one that just might put people first.