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Local architecture firm proposes fixes for dangerous DeKalb Avenue

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Kronberg Wall is calling for “complete streets” projects along the problematic corridor

a rendering shows a possible reworking of DeKalb Avenue.
Vision for a DeKalb Avenue that’s safe for pedestrians and cyclists.
Kronberg Wall

Long before Atlanta was Atlanta—before the construction of railroad tracks solidified the need for a bonafide municipality—Native American trails weaved through Georgia, many times where flat ground accommodated travel routes.

One of those Native American trails became DeKalb Avenue, a high-speed or brutally congested corridor that many consider perilous for pedestrians and cyclists.

Recently, Atlanta-based architecture firm Kronberg Wall, which just so happens to share an office with the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition near DeKalb Avenue, drafted a “tactical solution” for the dangerous roadway.

Kronberg Wall

Taking inspiration from cities like New York—namely New York City’s former transportation director Janette Sadik-Kahn—Kronberg Wall is proposing potentially temporary fixes for bustling DeKalb Avenue.

“Our approach stays within the existing curbs, using only paint to create a buffered two-way cycle track on the south side of the road,” reads a blog post by KWA’s Senior Urban Designer Elizabeth Ward.

The before and after of Flushing Avenue in New York City.
Kronberg Wall

The KWA proposal focuses on the leg of DeKalb Avenue between the Inman Park-Reynoldstown MARTA station on Hurt Street and where the Decatur PATH trail picks up at Rocky Ford Road, she wrote.

“This two mile stretch would connect the PATH to the bike lane on Edgewood Avenue, effectively creating a flat and efficient bicycle route from downtown all the way to Decatur, Avondale, Scottdale, and even Clarkston,” per the post.

Here’s a little deeper detail:

Limited modifications would be necessary at three key intersections to allow for left turn lanes: Oakdale/Whitefoord, Clifton and Arizona. An even lighter, faster, and cheaper approach would be to connect Hurt Street to Oakdale/Whitefoord only, thereby avoiding the needed curb modifications.

While this approach would be less ideal—as it would force northside cyclists to McClendon and southside cyclists to LaFrance and the Pullman Path—it would be much better than nothing and would still serve as an innovative experiment in traffic calming and connectivity.

City officials are currently “rebaselining”—or finally prioritizing, rather—the project lists initially outlined by the Renew Atlanta and TSPLOST infrastructure improvement programs, and they’ve narrowed down potential funding possibilities to three scenarios, one of which earmarks $82 million for complete streets projects.

As Curbed Atlanta reader Stephen Krauska noted on Twitter, that’s still a cut to the initial funding laid out in the deals Atlanta voters approved years ago.

Nonetheless, Ward said in the KWA post the complete streets-focused option “is the only scenario that relays the serious need for more than just car infrastructure in our city.”

“In any case, under each scenario, DeKalb Avenue has funding for resurfacing (so long, potholes!) and reversible lane removal (finally!),” she wrote. “As for the complete street, there is only funding for design of the future complete street—no funding for the actual complete street.”

KWA hopes its “tactical pilot project” could lead to DeKalb Avenue being reshaped with bike lanes and the like in the near future, “not 10 years from now.”

“Pilot projects are a ‘lighter, faster, cheaper’ approach, which happens to be exactly what we need in Atlanta,” Ward wrote. “If we’re going to be repainting DeKalb Avenue anyway, why not paint in a bike lane, too?”