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Commuter: Damn you, Atlanta, for removing street lanes near Georgia Tech

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Tech Parkway lane-reduction “only causing more congestion and frustration for already fed-up commuters”

Near Georgia Tech, a rendering for Tech Parkway’s overhaul, looking south toward downtown.
A rendering for Tech Parkway’s overhaul, looking south toward downtown.
Georgia Tech

A bike-lane project that will snake from Centennial Olympic Park, past Coca-Cola’s world headquarters, and around Georgia Tech before linking into Northside Drive is moving full-speed ahead.

Predictably, not every Atlanta driver is thrilled with recent changes.

Tech Parkway’s bike path on Luckie Street heading south from campus, leading to a “bike boulevard.”
Georgia Tech

Jason, as we’ll call him, chimes in today with more reasoned and well-stated concerns than the typical “driving lanes good, bike lanes bad” discourse of Atlanta past and present.

The north-south corridor project, which is jointly funded by the PATH Foundation and Georgia Tech, could portend grave gridlock to come if similar, permanent lane closures are implemented around the city, Jason argues.

He reports that the situation for inbound commuters in the morning, and outbound in the afternoon, has become a mess.

Jason stresses that he’s a proponent of projects like the Beltline that provide alternate ways of navigating Atlanta by reclaiming underused property. But he argues it’s irresponsible of the city, planners, and foundations like PATH to reduce traffic lanes downtown “before any real alternative transit options (including mass transit) have been put in place.”

Here’s the bulk of a letter calling for a hard look at what’s happening at the fringes of Tech right now:

“Taking Tech [Parkway] from four lanes to two lanes and reducing the turn lane options is only causing more congestion and frustration for already fed-up commuters. There were already plenty of walking and biking options next to that stretch of roadway (not including the GT campus that is adjacent). Also, the lanes are too close to parallel parking commingled with several pedestrian walkways (with signs in the middle of the road).

Just in the last few weeks I’ve seen multiple cars swerving to avoid either a parked car, sign, or oncoming car. One pickup truck was forced onto the curb to avoid an oncoming car. It’s only a matter of time before there is a serious accident involving cars/pedestrians.

The Tech Parkway project literally leads to nowhere and is just across the street from the GT campus, which has a significant number walking and biking options. This will end up being more like a park for the school, and I understand GT is paying for 50 percent of the cost. If the city is going to start allowing permanent lane closures by a foundation that is being heavily influenced by universities or private businesses to benefit their own campuses, Atlanta’s already terrible traffic issues are going to escalate quickly.

I emailed PATH, and this was their response: ‘Will our reconfigured space slow traffic? I hope so. Will it discourage traffic on Tech Parkway. Likely so.’ This can’t be allowed in a city such as Atlanta that offers almost no quality mass transit options to the vast majority of its citizens, even those of us who live in the city itself. PATH and the Beltline should be focusing on creating ADDITIONAL alternative transit options, not taking away the few existing methods of transportation we currently have. It’s not as if future road construction was adjusted with the thought/hope that alternate transit would reduce the need for lanes. This is the closure of needed and already existing lanes and basically telling commuters ‘good luck.’”

At last check, the project’s estimated completion date was this summer, pending weather delays and other obstacles. Here’s a preview of what to expect at the end farthest from Centennial Olympic Park, and overall:

The vision for Hampton Street at Tech Parkway, where the street splits with Northside Drive.
Georgia Tech
The plan, in full.
PATH Foundation/FB

Centennial Olympic Park

285 International Boulevard NW, Atlanta, GA 30313 404 223 4412 Visit Website