Avondale Estates reaches new milestones in U.S. 278 project; plan includes ‘road diet’
By Zoe Seiler, contributor
Avondale Estates, GA — Avondale Estates has been working to redesign the main road that goes through downtown. The project has reached a couple of milestones as the Georgia Department of Transportation approved the city’s US 278 redesign concept plan at the end of March. The city also received environmental approvals from GDOT at the beginning of April.
“I’m really happy about this. This is just one of the many big initiatives the board has approved to lay the framework for the future of our city,” Mayor Jonathan Elmore said.
The environmental approvals look at what environmental impacts may be present in the area.
“We’ve also got the environmental approvals so we know that we’re not endangering any species and those kinds of things,” said Assistant City Manager Shannon Powell.
The city also must get historic district approvals before city staff can start developing further plans for the project.
The project, which the city has been working on since 2014, aims to improve U.S. 278 and includes a “road diet“ which will reduce the five-lane road to three lanes between Sam’s Crossing and Ashton Place.
The project will also add medians, parking and a sidewalk for bikes and pedestrians, Powell said.
“It’ll be both beautiful and multimodal. It’ll accommodate both bikes and walkers as well as cars,” she said.
Powell added that the city has talked to MARTA to figure out how to accommodate the buses that move through the city to create transit connectivity.
The goals of the project listed in the project concept report are:
– Increase mobility opportunities along the street including biking and walking
– Reducing vehicular/pedestrian conflicts
– Providing more safe connections for neighborhoods connecting to the city’s main street
Elmore said the U.S. 278 project is one of many projects the City Commission approved to improve the city.
“These (projects) are all big steps that we’re taking to lay the groundwork for the future, to grow our central business district, to improve our tax base and hopefully provide some relief to property owners in the near future with increased revenues,” Elmore said. “It’s part of a grand plan.”
He noted that U.S. 278 is the city’s main street project and is one of the bigger projects. In some ways it may be the most impactful as people are passing through, Elmore said.
“278 is going to be maybe our key project because that’s what most people are going to see first,” Elmore said. “We want people to drive through Avondale and go ‘wait a minute. This place is special. What’s going on here? Let’s take a look.’”
“I think this is going to be a transformative project,” Powell said. “I’m excited to see how it comes together and with each step, we’ll learn a little bit more and start to have an even clearer vision of what it’s going to look like. Hopefully, we’ll get to be walking down it and riding our bikes down it and driving down it not too far away.”
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