More than 100 public works initiatives promised by the original Renew Atlanta and TSPLOST programs were kicked to the curb during the city’s recent project prioritization process.
That’s according to a recent presentation officials gave to the Atlanta City Council’s transportation committee, which shows how roughly $540 million remaining in the budget—after it was discovered that the programs would be severely underfunded—will likely be divvied up.
The final project lists still need to go before the full council for a vote, which is expected to happen in mid-April, but it seems the writing is on the wall.
If the council green-lights the proposed lists as-is, roughly $24 million would be used for bridge building and repair, $76 million would go to resurfacing projects, and $83 million would fund “complete streets” initiatives, which bolster pedestrian and bike infrastructure, many times at the expense of automobile lanes.
Advocates for good urban design have long been lobbying to push more funding toward the complete streets projects, even if it means using money that would otherwise go to repaving roads or other car-centric citywide upgrades.
The way the revised funding plan is mapped out, more than 26 miles of roads would be converted into complete streets and upwards of 10 miles of multi-use trails would be created.
Meanwhile, more than 135 miles of streets would be resurfaced, and more than 350 intersection traffic signals would be improved.
Program officials say the updated project lists were crafted based on input from thousands of community members and founded on goals of safety, equity, and mobility.
A data analysis by one Atlanta scientist begs to differ.
According to the report, published March 2, variables related to project cost, readiness, and partnership funding had an 84 percent chance of predicting its potential to be pinned as a top priority; whereas safety, equity, and mobility had a 58 percent chance of playing a role in the prioritization process.
Some projects, according to the revised list, will receive funding for the design phase, but not for implementation. Those include complete streets initiatives on DeKalb and Euclid avenues and part of Cascade Road.
Other complete streets projects, of course, won’t see any funding at all, such as those once planned for Forsyth Street, Gilmer Street, North Highland Avenue, and Peachtree Street.
From now through May, Renew Atlanta and TSPLOST officials will map out how to phase all of these projects, and the official game plan should surface on May 15, assuming the council okays the final project lists.