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Atlanta officials set to weigh potential ‘complete street’ future of DeKalb Avenue

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As advocates have stressed, the dangerous roadway is due for a safety upgrade

a rendering shows a possible reworking of DeKalb Avenue.
An early vision for a shared DeKalb Avenue.
Kronberg Wall

Later this month, Atlanta Department of Transportation officials are set to discuss the future of one of the city’s most dangerous streets for pedestrians and cyclists.

On February 27, the DOT will host an open house at the Martin Luther King Jr. Natatorium at 110 Hilliard Street to hash out the possibility of turning DeKalb Avenue into a “complete street”—a road in which automobile infrastructure shares space with bike lanes and wider sidewalks.

For advocates of alternative transportation, the conversation is long overdue.

In addition to being dangerously cracked, notoriously potholed, and crumbling in areas, the road is a speeding zone for motorists, making cycling and even walking alongside DeKalb a gauntlet.

Several years ago, money from the Renew Atlanta infrastructure bond program was earmarked to transform the roadway into a complete street, but that initiative was nixed from the project list after budget shortfalls forced city officials to reevaluate their priorities for the program.

A planned repaving project is expected to strip the street of what many mobility advocates consider a dangerous reversible lane, although some folks believe more changes are needed.

In recent months, activists have held “slow rolls” down DeKalb Avenue during rush hours in an effort to illustrate how the street can be safely shared by more than just drivers.

Those activists, as well as organizers from the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, have been lobbying for a buffer between the automobile lanes and the infrastructure for pedestrians, cyclists, and scooter riders.

Early last year, Atlanta architecture firm Kronberg Wall sketched a potential update to DeKalb Avenue, calling for a “tactical solution” to the street’s many shortcomings.

The proposal suggested creating a buffered two-way cycle track on the south side of the road between the Inman Park-Reynoldstown MARTA stop and where the Decatur PATH trail picks up at Rocky Ford Road.

The meeting to discuss the future of the street is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.