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Revised vision for Jackson Street Bridge pocket park has emerged

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Iconic Old Fourth Ward photography spot is primed for a road diet and pedestrian-friendly makeover

a rendering of the parklet design, with people using wide sidewalks.
By next spring, Jackson Street’s popular bridge could look more like this.

By mid-2019, photography experts and Instagram novices could have a bit more breathing room at one of Atlanta’s hottest selfie sites, the Jackson Street Bridge.

In June, the City of Atlanta announced that the iconic bridge, spanning John Lewis Freedom Parkway in Old Fourth Ward, was selected to receive a makeover, thanks to the new Placemaking Program.

With a grant from the program, the bridge would be transformed to include a pint-sized but functional park, with greenery, seating, and better infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians.

The novel concept, conjured by Neighborhood Planning Unit M—representing Old Fourth Ward and other intown neighborhoods—would entail putting the Jackson Street Bridge on what’s called a road diet, meaning a vehicle lane would be sacrificed to enhance the biking and walking experience.

Currently, the bridge has two lanes of vehicle traffic running north and south, separated by a center turn lane.

Renderings for the pocket park unveiled at a recent NPU-M meeting, however, show that turn lane cut out to make way for a wider sidewalk on the west side of the bridge, which affords beautiful skyline shots.

The bridge also has two bike lanes now—one running in each direction on the outside of the car lanes. These are often blocked by bridge visitors’ parked cars.

The proposed changes, sketched by engineering and design firm AECOM, would bring the bike lanes together on the west side of the bridge and add a two-foot median separating them from the vehicle traffic.

The project is still in design stages, and NPU-M will continue hosting public meetings to gauge community feedback.

The design is expected to be finalized at the beginning of 2019, and construction could launch as soon as next spring.