State reverses course, approves road diet for Avondale’s main street
As Avondale Estates develops its downtown, one of the ongoing questions is how to make U.S. 278, the main road through the city, friendlier to pedestrians.
The city has discussed putting U.S. 278 on a road diet, but the Georgia Department of Transportation initially rejected that idea.
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But GDOT has reconsidered and given its approval for the city to move forward, Mayor Jonathan Elmore said. The road will be reduced from two lanes in each direction to one lane in each direction. There will also be fewer turn lanes, he said. The news was initially confirmed by Second Century Avondale, a citizens advocacy group.
“U.S. 278 will start to feel more like main street than just a big fat highway,” Elmore said. “We had previously requested the road diet and it was turned down for various reasons, so we asked for a reconsideration. They looked at the traffic flow again and said, ‘We can do this.’ It’s a big deal for us.”
Elmore didn’t have specific answers to some of the big questions about the project, like how much it will cost or how long it will take. He said the city is pursuing grants and he expects the process is “gonna take a while.”
The mayor said there would be bike lanes along the road, with the specifics to be ironed out during the planning process. There will also be wider sidewalks, “hopefully” fewer curb cuts, and better crosswalks for pedestrians. The next phase will involve engineering and studies of the project, Elmore said.
He said the city wants to “make this more of a multi-modal friendly street to encourage walking and encourage bike riding and encourage [use of] MARTA stations.”