Seeking to Solve Buckhead Traffic: City Council Proposal & Building Moratorium by Mayor Kasim Reed

 

The reason for Buckhead traffic congestion is most often thought to be caused by construction or not having enough driving lanes. However, Atlanta City Council’s Buckhead representatives Howard Shook and Yolanda Adrean say the issue is parking, and have consequently submitted a proposal to reduce the number of parking spaces developers can allocate per project.

The recent proposal introduced by Shook and Adrean aims to end Buckhead’s “Manhattan Density and Alpharetta Parking” by creating the ‘Buckhead Parking Overlay District,’ an area where the maximum parking spaces allowed for developments (retail, office, residential) will reduce to a requirement similar to that of Downtown Atlanta. The ‘Buckhead Parking Overlay District’ boundaries are said to encompass Peachtree Road and “high-density environs between I-85 and the city limit,” according to a press release.

Table of ‘Buckhead Overlay Parking District’ Parking Specs from Official Legislation

Parking Spaces Parking Spaces
Minimum Maximum
Residential Dwellings/Lodgings
Hotels & Motels (spaces per lodging unit) None 1.0
Residential Dwellings:

Per each one-bedroom unit

Per each two or more bedroom unit

None  

1.25

2.25

Non-Residential Uses (Spaces per 1,000 sq ft of floor area
Eating and Drinking Establishments Underlying zoning controls Underlying zoning controls
Commercial/Retail (not Eating and Drinking Establishments) None 2.5
Institutional None 2.5
Office None 2.5
Recreation/Entertainment None 1.5
All Other Uses None 2.0

As shown, the Buckhead Parking Overlay District has no parking minimums, indicating that an establishment is not required to have any parking which is a fairly shocking idea to most in Buckhead.

With a goal of fewer parking spaces in future Buckhead developments (including apartments and hotels), Mayor Kasim Reed followed responded signing an executive order enforcing a moratorium on new Buckhead developments, giving the Atlanta City Council an opportunity to undergo a public review of the rules and regulations involved in decreasing the number of parking areas developers can build.

The 120-day moratorium applies to any new development permits that include parking areas, unless the development conforms to the proposed parking standards. This effectively put the new rules into place immediately.

New developments that have had yet to file for permits, like 99 West Paces Ferry, might be left wondering where their residents are going to park now that the city has clamped down.

Buckhead-Sticker

We put together a breakdown of Buckhead commute times for you to see the areas of density on a map.

Below are further proposals that officials from Atlanta City Council and Buckhead CID are pursuing to improve traffic flow:

  • Adding pedestrian paths & a park over the Interstate 85/75 interchange.
  • A roundabout added to the intersection of Wieuca Road & Phipps Boulevard.
  • Adding one additional lane at Piedmont Road from Peachtree to Lenox roads.
  • Intersection improvements at Piedmont, Habersham and Roswell roads.
  • Studying the benefits of redesigning the interchange at Georgia 400 and Lenox Road.
  • Constructing an interchange with the highway that would exit onto East Paces Ferry Road behind Lenox Square mall.
  • Buckhead officials are pursuing funds from the city to sync various traffic lights.
  • Constructing a center turning lane at Peachtree Road from Interstate 85 north to Pharr Road.
  • Enforcing limits on when utility companies can close lanes.

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