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Meeting suggests ‘complete streets’ a top priority for Renew Atlanta, TSPLOST money

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The “rebaselining” effort seems to be working in favor of cycling, pedestrian advocates

A rendering of the complete street transformation on Juniper Street in Midtown.
A rendering of the complete street transformation on Juniper Street in Midtown.
Midtown Alliance

The rallying cry by advocates of “complete streets” projects in Atlanta appears to have caught the attention of city leaders.

Atlanta still has loads of work to accomplish before many of its most dangerous streets are retrofitted with bike lanes, wider sidewalks, and other public works catered toward people, rather than automobiles.

But according to a presentation given Thursday at an Atlanta City Council work session regarding the “rebaselining” of Renew Atlanta and TSPLOST infrastructure improvement programs, progress is being made to put the city on the right track.

The presentation shows that, based on community input—including responses from more than 1,000 people who participated in a survey last month—it’s “loud and clear” that Atlantans want to ensure Renew Atlanta and TSPLOST projects gel with the city’s recently approved transportation plan.

City of Atlanta

The Atlanta Transportation Plan endeavors to shift the city from its automobile obsession to focus on infrastructure improvements that encourage cycling, walking, and public transit use.

Part of that plan entails striving to decrease the amount of commuters who drive alone from more than 50 percent to around 35 percent or less, which means not only would people need to carpool more, they would need to leave their cars behind.

Using the community input, city officials mapped out three potential plans for prioritizing the projects that were first promised when Atlanta voters elected to approve the TSPLOST and Renew Atlanta programs years ago.

The first, although not necessarily the official favorite, focuses on complete streets projects, with $81.7 million of the $540 million budget allocated toward such upgrades.

City of Atlanta

Scenario 2 highlights the need for “foundational investments,” meaning resurfacing roads ($82.3 million) and updating traffic communication systems ($32.6 million), would take top priority. (This option also earmarks $68.6 million for complete streets projects).

The third option, which also calls for nearly $67 million for complete streets, is called the “max leveraged funding” scenario, and it would use about $60 million to repair and replace bridges, make roadway and intersection upgrades, fix beat-up sidewalks, and make street capacity improvements.

All in all, it appears city officials heeded the cries from groups like the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, which has been fighting to put complete streets projects back on track since major funding shortfalls were reported in November.

The final project list is expected to be unveiled in March, after further community engagement and programming tweaks.