As fall arrives, so will a series of major construction projects that over the next several months will begin transforming streets and sidewalks in Lenox, North Buckhead and Buckhead Village.
A widening of Piedmont Road, a new roundabout on Phipps Boulevard, and a boardwalk along Lenox Square will be among the projects kicking off late this year or in the first half of 2022. All are long-awaited projects led by the Buckhead Community Improvement District, a self-taxing group of commercial property owners in the central business district that spend the money on transportation upgrades, public safety and beautification. The City and the Georgia Department of Transportation are other partners.
The following updates come courtesy of Tony Peters, the CID’s director of capital projects and programs.
Peachtree Road Streetscape: Maple Drive to Shadowlawn Avenue
Estimated start: Fall 2021
For nearly 15 years, the CID has been working on various phases of this improvement project for Peachtree on both sides of Ga. 400 in the heart of the business district. It’s a “Complete Street” project, meaning that part of the purpose is to transform it from what Peters calls a “traffic sewer” into a roadway that is friendly to pedestrians and bicyclists as well as being attractive. Among the amenities: wide sidewalks, bicycle lanes, turn lanes at signalized intersections, granite curbing and medians, hardwood trees, “seasonal color landscaping,” streetlights and street furniture. The project also involves burying above-ground utility lines for aesthetic purposes.
Two major phases of the project are already complete: between Ga. 400 and just past Piedmont Road in 2007, and between Ga. 400 and Roxboro Road in 2012. This third and final phase is a relatively short section between Maple Drive and Shadowlawn Avenue, on the border of Buckhead Village and Buckhead Forest. Construction is estimated to take 15 months.
Phipps Boulevard/Wieuca Road Roundabout
Estimated start: 1st Quarter of 2022
Notorious for vehicle crashes, this complicated, curving intersection was recommended for replacement with a large roundabout in 2019 after years of controversial study. The proposed roundabout, currently in an engineering design phase, would have two lanes as well as dedicated bicycle lanes and sidewalks.
The design also includes improvements to North Buckhead Park, a pocket park in the north corner of the existing intersection.
Lenox Road Streetscape Phase 1
Estimated start: Late 1st Quarter 2022
This is another multiphase “Complete Street” project, this time addressing Lenox Road. The first phase includes a multiuse trail designed like a boardwalk along the west side of Lenox between Peachtree Road and the Lenox MARTA Station on East Paces Ferry Road.
Piedmont Road Widening
Estimated start: 2nd Quarter of 2022
Piedmont is already a major thoroughfare, running five lanes wide between Lenox and Peachtree Roads, where it runs between five and seven lanes. This project will widen that section further to seven lanes, while adding a 10- to 12-foot-wide multiuse path on the west side of the street. The idea of the widening is to “help process vehicles more effectively, ultimately calming traffic,” Peters says.
Other Sidewalk Projects
The CID has two other streetscape projects underway.
The Peachtree Road sidewalk upgrades project began in February and is anticipated as a “multi-year” project. Addressing Peachtree between Peachtree-Dunwoody Road and Maple Drive, it will replace walkway pavers with a concrete sidewalk and decorative landscape-bed pavers with a curb. The idea is to improve both aesthetics and safety. One reason cited in CID board discussions was that the landscape pavers could or had been used as weapons during the May 2020 rioting and looting in the neighborhood.
The West Village streetscape enhancements project is improving sidewalks, street furniture and, in some cases, stormwater infrastructure in the area roughly bounded by East Andrews Drive and Roswell and West Paces Ferry roads. The streetscape work includes street lighting and trees.
The work began in 2020 and is already finished on Early Street, Irby Avenue and Paces Ferry Place. As of the last week in September 2021, sidewalk construction on Cains Hill Place was done, with paving “upcoming,” and East Andrews stormwater work was done, with paving to be completed that week. The City is conducting stormwater improvements on Roswell Road. The CID expects to begin sidewalk construction and paving there in the first quarter of 2022 when that stormwater work is done.