It might not seem earth-shattering on paper, but a proposed multimodal corridor extending 15th Street by two blocks in Midtown would provide a vital link between gangbusters new development in the area and MARTA transit, project leaders believe.
In the works for a couple of years, the 15th Street extension would alter what’s currently a dead-end at West Peachtree Street and utilize Georgia Department of Transportation right-of-way, eliminating the need for protracted, expensive land acquisition.
According to a recent update by Midtown Alliance, GDOT is now reviewing concept designs for the 15th Street extension, as environmental and traffic studies move forward.
Construction could begin next year, pending approvals and permitting, per district officials.
The project is another example of planned street overhauls in fast-evolving Midtown that aren't reliant on limited Renew Atlanta and TSPLOST funding.
The extension would bring 15th Street two blocks west to Williams Street, with turn lanes at Spring and West Peachtree streets. Between Spring and Williams stress, the turn lane would be eliminated.
But the real treats for non-drivers in the area would be 10-foot-wide sidewalks, neighboring five-foot bicycles lanes, all buffered from cars by a five-foot zone for trees and street furniture.
The proposed bike lanes “would provide a direct connection to the Arts Center MARTA Station and existing and proposed developments as well as other bicycle routes,” reads a Midtown Alliance project update.
The bulk of the project’s funding ($3.5 million) would come from Midtown Improvement District coffers, city impact fees, in addition to GDOT and federal sources. The total cost hasn’t been determined.
Design work began early last year, and public input gathered online and at a November open house has helped shape changes. One notable tweak: A revised proposal calls for elevating bicycle lanes to sidewalk level, further separating cars and bikes.
The 15th Street extension would complement more extensive complete-streets visions percolating in this section of Midtown.
Nearby, Midtown Alliance, the City of Atlanta, and GDOT are mapping out plans that could overhaul both Spring and West Peachtree streets—two one-way corridors designed for vehicles—via road diets that nix a car lane in exchange for cyclist and pedestrian infrastructure.
Complete streets initiatives for both Midtown corridors recently matured to the design and engineering phase.