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Atlanta City Council directs more cash to pedestrian-friendly MLK Jr. Drive redo

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$2.7M in grants is expected to help pay for pedestrian and bike infrastructure

A backhoe parked in front of to-be-installed curbs for new medians.
Work on medians, as seen in December. Protected, if unpaved, bike lanes exist now.
Google Maps

From downtown to Vine City and beyond, a harrowing on-street route for anyone not in a vehicle is changing—and now it’s better capitalized.

The Atlanta City Council on Tuesday voted in favor of legislation that will send $2.67 million more toward the Martin Luther King Jr. Drive Innovation Corridor Project.

The money is coming in the form of grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation and is expected to help revitalize more than seven miles of MLK Drive, from Northside Drive to Fulton Industrial Boulevard, with better pedestrian and bike infrastructure.

Paving near the Beltline’s Westside Trail and protected bike lane installation on MLK, just west of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, is underway now, in addition to other work.

The new funding accounts for just under 10 percent of what’s anticipated to be a $27 million project.

Per city officials, the project’s completion is scheduled for summer 2020.

The popular—and formerly very car-centric—east-west corridor links major intown hubs, such as The Benz, the Atlanta University Center, the Beltline, Westview Cemetery, and multiple MARTA stations.

Heavy machinery sits in the middle of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.
The project getting underway in December, along what was formerly a harrowing route for bicyclists and e-scooter riders between downtown and Vine City, and the Beltline’s Westside Trail beyond.
Google Maps

When finished, the project is expected to create new multi-use trails and a linear park along the road, too.

It would also bring landscaped medians, pedestrian crossing islands, and repaired sidewalks, in addition to the two-way cycle track.

The project is also funded in part by a $10 million TIGER Grant secured by the City of Atlanta in 2016.