Post-DeKalb Ave Groundbreaking Update: Nov 12, 2021
On Thursday, November 4, 2021, the City of Atlanta held a public meeting about the construction plans for long-awaited safety improvements on DeKalb Avenue. Explore important information on the long-awaited DeKalb Avenue project below.
Explore DeKalb Ave Phase 1 project resources.
Learn more about ATLDOT's plans for DeKalb Ave
Get info on the Krog tunnel closure and other construction alerts
Learn more about the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition's planned follow-ups
Read our review of DeKalb Ave Phase 1 Design
Learn about our years of advocacy to reclaim DeKalb Avenue for people
We’ve advocated for an overhaul of DeKalb Ave for many years! Now, we are sharing this information to increase Atlantans’ awareness of what to expect while this project is under construction. For more on our efforts and how this project does/doesn’t address them, visit www.atlantabike.org/dekalbave-review.
Start date and connectivity impacts
Construction will start December 1, 2021 and the project is expected to take two years.
A Krog Tunnel watershed project will be timed to coincide with the work on DeKalb Ave. This first phase of the tunnel repairs will wrap up with fixes to any damage it causes to the road and sidewalks. One lane of DeKalb Ave — the lane closest to the tunnel — will be closed during this phase. There will be no access for motor vehicles or people using the sidewalks via the tunnel during three weeks in January 2022. Keep in mind this is the plan and construction schedules are always subject to change. This temporary closure will have a big impact on people who rely on the tunnel on a daily basis, so please help spread the word! Following the tunnel work, Krog Street will be closed for the month of February.
The most frequently asked question during the public meeting was whether the project would include bike lanes. Here is the City’s response: "This project will include several bike improvements, including the addition of a two-way cycle track on the north side of Dekalb Avenue between Hurt Street and Elmira Place as well as bike lanes between Nelms and Arizona avenues on either side of Dekalb Avenue. Bicycle lane striping will also be installed along Whitefoord Avenue between Dekalb Avenue and LaFrance Street."
The bike/LIT lanes will be installed after the road is repaved, towards the end of the project.
Sidewalks will be repaired: sidewalks with cracks bigger than 1/4 inch will be replaced, all ADA ramps will be installed/replaced, and all crosswalks will be restriped. Staff also said several poles blocking full sidewalk access have been tagged for removal.
DeKalb Ave will get two new signalized pedestrian crossings with refuge islands and rectangular rapid flashing beacons at Ridgecrest Road (providing access to the existing Stone Mountain PATH) and Degress Avenue (connecting to the MARTA Inman Park / Reynoldstown MARTA station).
The contractor is required to create space for people walking and using wheelchairs, and they expect the sidewalks to be accessible during construction, except when demolition is happening.
Considerations during construction
20 message boards are being distributed throughout the route with project info starting November 15.
There will be no official detours during project construction — instead, crews aim to keep two lanes open (there will also be one travel lane in each direction). Work on DeKalb Ave will begin with the removal of the reversible lane December 1 - 7: they’ll add temporary striping in the middle lane to create a temporary two-way left-turn lane. Signal update work will start at Ridgecrest Rd.
- We plan to follow up on signal timing — as the signals are being retimed for traffic flow, we want them to be set to a safe speed of 25 mph to incentivize slower speeds.
- We’ll also continue focusing on phase 2 of the project that will extend the existing multi-use trail that starts at Rocky Ford Rd west towards Downtown Atlanta (the “Complete Street” project).
Original DeKalb Ave post from May 30, 2019:
ACT NOW: IMPROVE SAFETY FOR ALL ON DEKALB AVE
On Thursday, February 27th, the Atlanta Department of Transportation showed the most recent concept for DeKalb Ave. The project is described as “DeKalb Ave Safety Improvements,” and while it’s true that removing the reversible lane is an important safety improvement, the overall design would not fulfill the City’s commitment to improving safety for everyone on this key corridor. Our vision for DeKalb Ave is of a greenway similar to the BeltLine alongside a safe street for all. In our vision, DeKalb Ave facilitates easy access to transit, prioritizes the safety of the most vulnerable people first, and provides transportation options that go beyond cars for the growing number of businesses and residents along the corridor.
Safety, mobility, and affordability are at the heart of Atlanta’s Transportation Plan approved by City Council and there have been plans to replace the reversible lane and add bike lanes and turn lanes on DeKalb for decades (Candler Park Master Plan, Connect Atlanta Plan).
In 2018, the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition started questioning the Renew Atlanta's progress building the promised Complete Streets. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms' staff then identified major funding shortfalls in the Renew Atlanta/TSPLOST programs that would jeopardize long overdue projects.
There is still tremendous demand for a safe and complete DeKalb Avenue. At our 2018 Atlanta Streets Alive - Eastside! 74,000 people biked, walked, skated, or pushed strollers at Atlanta Streets Alive. That’s nearly a week’s worth of car traffic crammed into 4 hours on a street that carries about 18,000 vehicles per day. This route connected 11 Atlanta neighborhoods -- Downtown, Sweet Auburn, Old Fourth Ward, Cabbagetown, Inman Park, Little Five Points, Reynoldstown, Candler Park, Edgewood, Lake Claire, and Kirkwood. On June 9th, 2019, we brought Atlanta Streets Alive back to DeKalb Ave.
Following our successful Atlanta Streets Alive, Renew Atlanta led a public meeting where they stated that the Complete Street project would be divided into two phases, beginning with the removal of the reversible lane. Phase 1 never happened and the reversible lane still remains.
Our vision for DeKalb Avenue
Going back even further
We started advocating for a complete DeKalb Avenue because it is riddled with potholes, has an outdated and dangerous reversible center lane (aka "suicide lane"), lacks bike lanes, and backs up at key intersections due to the lack of turn lanes.
DeKalb Avenue made the Renew Atlanta list as a Complete Street - this would mean potentially removing the reversible "suicide" lane (a long-overdue safety improvement) and replacing it with turn lanes at key intersections, as well as repaving the street, and adding bike lanes or a multi-use path, and safer crossings.
These simple changes would transform a dangerous street into a safe connection from Decatur to the BeltLine and Downtown Atlanta.
Whether you walk, bike, drive, take transit, or all of the above, fixing DeKalb Avenue will benefit you.
in 2015 WABE reported that "Heather Alhadeff, an urban planner in Atlanta, says complete streets projects can be a way to reduce congestion, even when a lane of traffic is removed. 'It’s counterintuitive to most people’s thinking, but sometimes slowing down gets you through faster,' she says.
As an example, Alhadeff says to think of a crowd of people all trying to exit through one door in a room. “We’d all get stuck at the door, right?” she says. “So we know that if wait, and you go out first, I’m actually still going to get out faster.”
More than 250 people attended the first Renew Atlanta public meeting in 2016. There was overwhelming support for Complete Streets and a space for people on bikes.