Money to build pricey pedestrian bridge over Northside Drive should be spent at street-level

Memo to Atlanta’s next mayor:

Please put a stop to the building of an unnecessary $24 million loopy-loop pedestrian bridge across Northside Drive.

Now let me explain my rationale.

The expensive pedestrian bridge would connect the Vine City MARTA Station with the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The total length of the bridge would be about two blocks to just get pedestrians to cross over a 70-foot crosswalk.

Dobbins, Northside bridge to Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Baby steps across Northside Drive?

By Guest Columnist MIKE DOBBINS, a professor of the practice of planning at Georgia Tech’s College of Architecture who has overseen several Tech studios that examined Northside Drive and its neighborhoods

For over 30 years Northside Drive has separated westside residents from the jobs and vibrancy that continue to grow in Downtown Atlanta with a physical wall of traffic and pavement as if to emphasize the race and class divisions that plague the neighborhoods it bounds.

A final frontier in Atlanta: West End could grow new homes, shops, while sheltering current residents

West End may be an ideal candidate for redevelopment in this unusual era of the economy.

The newly released study of West End by Georgia Tech students sees opportunities in situations that would have been clear threats to redevelopment before the great recession. The report suggests that West End is ripe for new investments in retail and residential.

These ventures could both stabilize and benefit from the redevelopment of a stretch of Northside Drive, an historic industrial corridor that begins at the tip of Buckhead, passes Atlantic Station and the future Falcons stadium, and ends in the vicinity of West End and Fort McPherson.

A final frontier in Atlanta: Northside Drive plans complete – Buckhead to Falcons stadium area, to West End

The final piece is in place of a framework plan by Georgia Tech students that could guide development along the frontier of an historic Atlanta industrial corridor.

Just like Buckhead, the West End neigbhorhood that’s at the heart of the newly released plan developed around a tavern – Charner Humphrie’s two-story White Hall Tavern. West End’s beginnings as a travelers’ rest stop date to 1835, three years before Buckhead was established.

The latest plan provides a method to link the shops, homes, parks and places of worship of West End with the Atlanta University Center – the nation’s largest concentration of historically black colleges and universities.

Northside Drive: $2 billion in planned development may spur road's renewal

Two billion dollars in investments near Northside Drive in downtown Atlanta ought to go a long way toward promoting the rejuvenation of a gritty, five-mile stretch of the road located south of I-75.

A new study from Georgia Tech posits that this investment may catalyze landowners and civic leaders to evolve Northside Drive from a patchwork of low-density uses into a grand transit boulevard – one that links I-75 and I-20 as it passes Atlantic Station, Georgia Tech, new Falcons stadium, the Atlanta University Center and West End – that induces new east-west connectivity.

This $2 billion investment is the low end of the total sum envisioned for the new Falcons stadium and the Georgia MultiModal Passenger Terminal, the still-official and still-tongue-tying name of the transit hub and mixed-use development planned for downtown Atlanta.

West End and southwest Atlanta: Tweaking Northside Drive could spur growth in areas skipped by last boom

The Georgia Tech study of Northside Drive offers some interesting prospects for the next chapter of Atlanta’s West End and other neighborhoods south of I-20.

The study offers a solution that it contends is a relatively easy way to reconnect West End with downtown Atlanta via Northside Drive. The solution resolves the impasse created by I-20.

The proposal is significant because, if implemented, it could prime southwest Atlanta for the next wave of intown redevelopment. Fort McPherson’s planned conversion to civilian uses could benefit from the improved access, as well.