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Downtown Decatur’s bicycling infrastructure is getting a big boost

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With funding committed, long-planned cycle track could break ground in months

In Decatur, one option for a two-way cycle track along Commerce Drive with a landscape buffer.
In Decatur, one option for a two-way cycle track along Commerce Drive with a landscape buffer.
PATH Foundation/City of Decatur

A long-planned cycle track that boomerangs around the core of downtown Decatur is poised to actually happen now.

Swooping along Commerce Drive, the cycle track would lend momentum to the PATH Foundation’s broader plans of implementing nearly 10 miles of non-vehicle connectivity and convincing more Decaturites to leave cars behind.

As Decatur Metro reports, the Decatur City Commission has approved $1 million to fund the cycle track, which documents indicate is in planning and engineering stages now, with construction possible in the middle of this year.

Funding is coming from disparate sources, the website reports: $550,000 from DeKalb County’s HOST revenues; $200,000 from the PATH Foundation; $200,000 from Decatur’s Capital Improvements Fund, and even a $50,000 chip-in from the Alexan 1133 apartments, which would overlook the bike path.

At the recent meeting where funding plans were green-lighted, Decatur’s Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon said 60 percent of residents are willing to bike if they feel safe.

Adopted by the city in December, the Decatur PATH plan pinpoints 9.2 miles of “bicycle and pedestrian trail connectivity opportunities” via seven different trail segments, most of them within the city limits of Decatur.

Streetscape improvements that include protected bike lanes are already under construction near Decatur High School and elsewhere, branching off the existing PATH trail that links Stone Mountain to downtown Atlanta.

Plans call for the Commerce Drive cycle track to eventually connect to similar bicycling infrastructure just north of downtown Decatur.

The enthusiastic comments forum on Decatur Metro’s post suggests the Commerce Drive track would see plenty of use by Decatur’s two-wheeling citizenry.

Below, have a gander at PATH plans for downtown Decatur and beyond:

The recent proposal is marked in blue, with numbers denoting the locations of renderings above and below.
PATH Foundation/City of Decatur
The proposed 10-foot-wide, two-way cycle track along Commerce Drive with a landscape buffer, where a road diet would eliminate two turn lanes for cars but maintain a center turn lane and on-street parking.
PATH Foundation/City of Decatur
Elsewhere along Commerce Drive.
PATH Foundation/City of Decatur

Blocks away, the PATH Foundation envisions that a separate project called the Agnes Scott College Connector (see below) could launch construction in mid-2018.

PATH Foundation/City of Decatur
The longview on implementation.
PATH Foundation/City of Decatur

Meanwhile, these visuals illustrate the PATH Foundation’s plans for the proposed Trolley Trail at commercial nodes in nearby Kirkwood ...

PATH Foundation/City of Decatur

... and Edgewood, at the intersection of Woodbine and Whitefoord avenues:

PATH Foundation/City of Decatur