Transportation planning in the City of Decatur focuses on opportunities to promote a safe, integrated transportation system that encourages bicycling and walking as viable alternatives to vehicular travel, increased connectivity between neighborhoods and destinations, and transportation equity for users of all ages and abilities. Citywide transportation initiatives are guided by the 2007 Community Transportation Plan, which provides recommended policies, programs, and projects that emphasize a healthy and active community. A ten-year update will commence this calendar year.
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a national program that empowers communities to make walking and bicycling to school a safe and routine activity. Each school has designated safe routes, crossing guard locations, and monthly Walk and Roll days. The city is actively looking to improve pedestrian and bicycle facilities along each of the SRTS routes.
Citywide Sidewalk Assessment
The citywide sidewalk assessment helps fulfill the community goal within Decatur’s 2010 Strategic Plan to enhance mobility in and through Decatur. The sidewalk assessment is a volunteer-led project in which potential hazards in Decatur’s existing pedestrian infrastructure have been identified. More than 50 volunteers dedicated their time to inventory every sidewalk, crosswalk, and curb ramp in the city. Staff members are currently analyzing each of the existing sidewalks for maintenance and repairs. With assistance from the volunteers and city boards, a prioritization list was compiled, which prioritizes repairs to sidewalks along Safe Routes to School, within the downtown special pedestrian area, within ¼ mile of a city school, and within ¼ mile of a senior living center.
Bicycle & Pedestrian Planning
Decatur PATH Connectivity & Implementation Plan
The city recently worked with the PATH Foundation and Kaizen Collaborative to prepare a connectivity and implementation plan. The plan suggests seven new trail segments, which once complete, will provide a better bicycle and pedestrian connection to the downtown core, neighborhoods, schools, and parks. The seven new trail segments include:
- Commerce Drive Cycle Track
- Agnes Scott College Connector
- Oakview Road Connector
- East Decatur Connector
- Glennwood Elementary Connector
- Westchester Elementary Connector
- East Lake MARTA Connector
Complete Streets & Traffic Calming
The Complete Streets team is an interdepartmental committee that looks for improvements to the existing infrastructure to provide a safer environment for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers. The team accepts traffic calming petitions and provides staff recommendations to the city commission.
Transit & Transit Oriented Development (TOD)
Decatur is unique in that aside from the City of Atlanta, it has the most number of transit stations within its boundaries. Three MARTA rail stations are located along the east-west Blue Line. Because the stations are centrally located between the northern and southern ends of the city, there is great opportunity for successful transit ridership and transit oriented development.
Decatur MARTA Station
The city envisions the downtown area and the Decatur MARTA station to become a mobility hub. Mobility hubs are areas where various modes of travel - walking, biking, transit, ridesharing, and personal driving intersect. Mobility hubs not only allow for an assortment of transportation services, amenities, and design elements to enhance the transportation experience and network, but they also bring together destinations where people live, work and play. Common services provided at a mobility hub include:
- Bike sharing services
- Car sharing services
- Electric vehicle charging stations
- Smart parking technology
- Bicycle repair stations and improved bicycle facilities
- Improved pedestrian facilities and street furniture
- Package delivery
Avondale MARTA Station
In 2002 a Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) study prepared for Avondale station to address the underutilized parking lot on the southern side of the station and to promote development within and surrounding the station. Groundbreaking for the Avondale TOD was held in November 2016. Once completed, the TOD will include market rate apartments, affordable senior living, commercial space, and a connection to the East Decatur Greenway.
East Lake MARTA Station
The East Lake station is vastly underutilized and is the perfect location for future development within the city as it has two large, nearly empty parking lots and experiences the lowest daily ridership. Daily entries average 1,101 riders and parking utilization is only 39%. The city has a long term plan to coordinate with MARTA and the City of Atlanta to prepare an East Lake station master plan and entice contextually appropriate development of the station and surrounding area.
A long term goal for the city is to have fully upgraded traffic signals. The timeline for the signal upgrade is estimated to begin in 2018, funded by GDOT. The signal upgrade would not only involve the most modern traffic signals, but would also incorporate an entire network of fiber connecting signals for improved signal synchronization and timing.
The updated railroad crossings at Candler St. and McDonough St. will provide improved traffic flow and left turn lanes, pedestrian crossing facilities, and signal synchronization.
North McDonough Streetscape & Cycle Track
The North McDonough Streetscape Improvements and Cycle Track will provide improved pedestrian and bicycle facilities, on-street parking, reconfigured travel lanes for safer speeds, and new landscaping.