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New ARC grants aim to make metro Atlanta more walkable, connected

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$450K would be used to study the potential of communities inside the I-285 Perimeter

A photo of chalk drawings of bike and pedestrian lanes.
Last year, an AeroATL project official shows a trail format that could be part of a 200-mile multi-use trail network around Hartsfield-Jackson.
Sean Keenan, Curbed Atlanta

Ten metro Atlanta communities are on track to receive boosts toward becoming more walkable, connected places, thanks to recently awarded Atlanta Regional Commission grants.

The ARC’s Livable Centers Initiative, a grant program aimed at reducing car trips and improving air quality, has disbursed $1.6 million in grants to fund studies that will help communities craft plans for pedestrian infrastructure improvements and other policies that could foster connectivity and vibrancy.

Several intown Atlanta places stand to benefit, potentially.

Of the grant monies, $450,000 will help study the walkability and connectivity potential of communities inside the Interstate 285 Perimeter. More specifically, $350,000 is going to the Aerotropolis Atlanta Alliance Community Improvement Districts, and $100,000 will be used for the Little Five Points CID.

The investments will help foster “dynamic, lively places where you can walk or bike to get your errands done, grab a meal, or visit with friends,” ARC Executive Director Doug Hooker said in a prepared statement.

A picture of a cracked sidewalk.
A too-typical Atlanta sidewalk.
Photos: Sean Keenan, Curbed Atlanta, unless noted

Once the planning studies conclude, each community will be eligible for federal funding for transportation improvement projects, such as new and upgraded sidewalks, multi-use trails, and intersections.

The Aerotropolis Atlanta Alliance, also called AeroATL, was formed in 2015 as an effort to enliven the historically unsightly and underutilized areas wrapped around Hartsfield-Jackson International.

The grant money awarded to the AeroATL CIDs—which includes leadership from East Point, Forest Park, Hapeville, South Fulton, Union City, and Clayton County—will further the group’s plans for the Aerotropolis Greenway. That’s a roughly 200-mile network of multi-use trails and green space around the world’s busiest airport. The grant cash is meant to help with the development of “Model Miles.”

Aerotropolis Greenway trail concepts.
Aerotropolis Atlanta Alliance

In Little Five Points, the grant money will be used to help reimagine the popular Euclid Avenue from Moreland Avenue, past Variety Playhouse, down to Austin Avenue in Inman Park.

The goal is to improve cycling and pedestrian infrastructure along the neighborhood’s commercial district, as well as inject “green space and green infrastructure, technology-based parking management, and other smart city technologies,” per the release.

Outside the Perimeter, Gwinnett County will claim $400,000, the biggest individual piece of the $1.6 million pie, to “develop land use and development implications of potential bus rapid transit service connecting Jimmy Carter Boulevard to Sugarloaf Parkway.”

Other monies will go to places like Alpharetta, Peachtree City, Sugar Hill, Tucker, Dallas, and Auburn.