By David Pendered
Atlanta and Midtown Alliance are collaborating on an effort to make the northern stretch of Spring Street more inviting for pedestrians and bicyclists. The city issued a request for engineering proposals Monday and Midtown Alliance released it Tuesday.
The plan is to retool a 0.4-mile segment of Spring Street. The project boundaries are the intersections with Peachtree and 17th streets.
The vision calls for all the work to be completed within the existing right-of-way. Spring Street is a southbound, one-way road.
The number of lanes for motorized vehicles is to be reduced from four 10-foot lanes to three 10-foot lanes.
The 10 feet of space freed by this step is to provide space for sidewalks, a one-way cycle track, and street furniture and vegetation.
Specifically, the vision calls for:
- A sidewalk on each side of the street, 5 feet wide;
- Three zones for trees and plants, and benches and trash cans, 5 feet wide;
- A one-way cycle track, 5 feet wide;
The project appears to be on an expedited schedule.
The RFP/request for qualificataions was released Monday and Tuesday. Responses are due June 27. The consultant is to be selected in July or August. The RFP does not appear to state when construction is to begin and conclude.
Currently, Spring Street has four lanes for cars and trucks, and each lane is 10 feet wide. The width of sidewalks on each side of the road varies, according to the RFP.
Terms call for Atlanta to oversee the project and serve as recipient for funding from the Federal Transit Administration. Midtown Alliance is to serve as the day-to-day manager of the project. The Georgia Department of Transportation will review the project because it affects a state highway.
A number of proposal have been offered over the year for retooling Spring Street. One that was discussed in the early 2000s would have converted Spring Street into a mini highway with reversible travel directions. The road would have been managed to move vehicles to and from downtown destinations such as the sports arenas on game days and during other highly attended events.
The current plan is to reduce the hectic nature of the corridor and make it more conducive for walking and cycling. Here’s how the RFP defines the vision:
- “The overall purpose of the project is to create a safer and ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] compliant pedestrian environment while establishing a southbound bicycle route along what is currently a high-speed vehicular thoroughfare.
- “As the area along the project has continued to densify over the last five to 10 years, pedestrian activity has increased significantly. In particular, a recently-established residence hall for the nearby Savannah College of Art and Design has resulted in an increase of student activity along this section of Spring Street. The Center for Puppetry Arts within this area is also undergoing a major facility upgrade.
- “However, despite the area’s land use changes, the prevailing condition within this section of Spring Street currently includes narrow sidewalks (less than 5’ feet wide in many cases), unsafe intersection crossings and an overall lack of ADA accessibility. The roadway includes four southbound travel lanes and exhibits high vehicular speeds.
- “Enhanced sidewalks, buffered bike facilities, and reduction in travel lanes are safety countermeasures endorsed by FHWA to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety. These measures will improve safety and access to in and around the project area by reducing pedestrian crossing distances, creating significant buffers between vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.
- “The addition of street trees will also provide a shaded walking environment, a pedestrian buffer zone and traffic calming measures.”