By Jim Durrett, President of Buckhead Coalition and Executive Director of Buckhead Community Improvement District
By definition, the Buckhead CID is an improvement district. If that is the case, what did 2022 look like in terms of improvements made? Plus, what does 2023 have in store for additional improvements?
As we ring in the new year and look back at the past year, 2022 was a year of accomplishments in terms of both public safety and transportation infrastructure investment.
The two primary investments of time and money for public safety were the opening of the new West Village APD Zone 2 precinct and the creation of the Repeat Offender Tracking Unit office in downtown Atlanta.
Since its opening in June, the new police precinct has been a welcomed new investment in the Buckhead Village area. With APD officers being able to work out of this precinct, more intimate and visible community policing takes place with a bicycle patrol unit headquartered here which helps to provide more accessible police coverage for this part of the CID.
In March of 2022, The Repeat Offender Tracking Unit was stood up to address and identify those who continue to break the law and work to keep them from committing additional crimes. This tracking program combines resources and information from local, county and federal law enforcement agencies to increase safety for Metro Atlanta residents and visitors. We helped provide funding for the office lease and furniture after its creation was recommended by the Repeat Offender Commission, on which I serve.
Furthermore, we continued to fund supplemental patrols which add an extra layer of safety for drivers and pedestrians as well as providing faster response times to calls within the community. In addition to these important and major public safety-focused improvements, investment in transportation infrastructure continues to be the primary focus of the Buckhead CID.
After nearly 15 years, the transformation of Peachtree Road – the project that was the impetus for the creation of the Buckhead CID – is almost complete. The construction of the third and final phase from Maple Drive to Shadowlawn has a new raised median, new sidewalks and driveways, granite curbs, pedestrian lights and upgraded intersections. The final activities remaining are to pave the roadway, weather permitting, in early 2023, resulting in a ribbon cutting to celebrate the complete transformation that was the signature project investment when the Buckhead CID formed in 1999. Earlier stages of this project were completed for Phase I in 2007 and Phase II in 2010.
In 2016, the CID expanded into the village area of Buckhead. We completely redefined the experience for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians who live, work and frequent the shops and dining destinations in the area. The roadways of Cains Hill, Irby Avenue, Paces Ferry Place and E. Andrews Drive have all been transformed with new sidewalks, curbs, driveways, pedestrian lights, landscape beds and new paving. Roswell Road has all of these new amenities, and the last activity for it will be to pave the roadway, weather permitting, in early 2023.
The Buckhead CID continues to consistently pay attention to and address the needs of the community by identifying deficiencies and fixing them quickly. We paved Stratford Road due to its dire state of repair from over three major development projects on this small section of roadway. We restriped E. Paces and W. Paces Ferry Road from Piedmont to E. Andrews Drive.
At the intersection of increasing safety and addressing infrastructure needs, we worked with GDOT to fix the lights on a very busy stretch of Lenox Road near Phipps Plaza and continue to invest in fixing broken street lighting within the boundary, because a well-lit community is a safer community.
2023 will be a year of construction and teeing up major projects for future construction.
Kicking off the first construction project of the year, the Wieuca Road Roundabout project will break ground in early 2023 at Phipps Boulevard and Wieuca Road. This will be the first multi-lane roundabout in Atlanta which will help improve traffic flow and pedestrian crosswalks.
Next, the first section of the Lenox Road Complete Street project will begin construction work between Lenox Road from East Paces to Peachtree in the spring of 2023. Enhancing pedestrian infrastructure, traffic flow and overall appearance, this is the first of three parts which will provide major upgrades to Lenox Road’s pedestrian and bicycle safety and access. One of those upgrades includes an elevated pedestrian bridge at the Lenox Road/GA 400 interchange which was announced along with a public meeting last September.
Finally, widening on Piedmont Road from Lenox Road to Peachtree Road will be the third project to be underway with construction in 2023. As a part of Piedmont Road Complete Street, the CID has plans to expand the roadway and sidewalks to accommodate traffic increases, add left turn lanes and increase pedestrian safety.
With these projects in varying stages of construction in 2023, the Buckhead CID will be working hard with the selected contractors to coordinate lane closures to minimize impacts to the motoring public.
While construction is set for later years, HUB404 is poised for significant progress in design and engineering to take this transformational cap park project from award-winning concept to plans for construction in the years ahead. Additionally, this nine-acre park atop GA 400 was recently awarded federal funds totaling $750,000 thanks to Congresswoman Nikema Williams who championed the appropriations bill for this innovative project.
The accomplishments of 2022 and plans for 2023 would not be possible without our partners including the City of Atlanta, Georgia DOT, MARTA and Livable Buckhead. We thank you for your support and wish everyone a happy new year!