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Are you in favor of connecting Monroe and Ponce via 8th?

On Wednesday, Atlantic Station is partnering with Untie Atlanta for an online Tweetup to discuss the upcoming regional transportation referendum

With less than three weeks to go until the July 31 vote, the T-SPLOST referendum debate is heating up big time.

Wednesday morning, Vincent Fort of State Senate District 39, which includes portions of Midtown, is expected to join T-SPLOST opponents, including the Atlanta Tea Party, Sierra Club, the NACCP, and AFL-CIO, in a press conference on the steps of the Georgia State Capitol.

Fifty-two percent of the projects list to be funded by the proposed one cent sales tax will go to transit projects. On Monday, Sen. Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock), the Senate majority leader, said at a press conference that an alternative plan needed to be created (and voted on in two years when it’s next eligible to be done so) that needs to be less about transit and more about roads.

On Wednesday, the pro-transportation referendum group Untie Atlanta, a group funded by Citizens for Transportation Mobility, questioned whether all the groups opposing the tax could agree on an appropriate Plan B.

“If the Tea Party, Sierra Club, DeKalb NAACP and Green Party can come up with a traffic solution that they all endorse and agree on, then maybe their opposition would be credible,” Untie Atlanta campaign manager Che Watkins said in a news release. “They cannot do that, because it is impossible to have a list that has all transit and no transit at the same time. This political posturing will only lead to more congestion, fewer jobs and less time at home with our families.”

On Wednesday, Atlantic Station is partnering with Untie Atlanta for an online Tweetup to discuss the upcoming regional transportation referendum that would fund $8.5 billion in transportation improvements.

Saba Long, press secretary at Citizens for Transportation Mobility, will be on Twitter to answer questions about the referendum from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and again from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tweeters can send questions to Caleb J. Spivak, Atlantic Station's social media and community manager, who will be moderating the discussion from the mixed-use community's Twitter handle (@AtlanticStation).

Answers will come from Long on the Untie Atlanta Twitter handle (@UntieAtlanta). Participants can follow the conversation by using hashtag #UntieATL.

If the referendum passes, the City of Atlanta is expected to receive a little over $9 million per year for ten years, or about $94 million total to spend on local projects. The city council approved the project list for the first five years last week.

Citywide –

There are a total of 108 Transportation Projects:

– 36 Final Investment List Projects (2013‐2022)

– 10 High‐priority Projects (2013‐2018)

– 10 Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) Projects (2013‐2018)

– 52 Neighborhood Projects (2013‐2018)

• With these projects, it is expected that 92.9 percent of city population lives within a half-mile mile of one or more of these projects

Projects in or near NPU-E

Regional Transportation Referendum- Draft Local Investment Framework

Project #

Project Name and Description

N-2.3

18th St from Spring St (US 19/SR 9) and W Peachtree St (US 19/SR 9) – Milling, Repaving and Two-way Conversion

N-3.3

Mecaslin St from Loring Heights to Atlantic Station – Multi-use Path

N-6.1

Monroe Dr from Amsterdam Ave to 10th St – Pedestrian Safety Improvements

N-6.3

Monroe Dr at 8th St to Ponce de Leon Ave at Ponce City Market (US 78/US 278/SR 8) – New Street Connection

N-7.2

Atlanta BeltLine Trail from Peachtree Rd (US 19/SR 9) to Peachtree Creek Area – Multi-use Path

N-7.4

Peachtree Rd (US 19/SR 9) at Collier Rd – Intersection Realignment & Capacity Improvements (Council District 7)

N-8.3

Deering Rd from Northside Dr (US 41/SR 9) – Traffic Calming

N-8.5

Peachtree Rd (US 19/SR 9) at Collier Rd – Intersection Realignment & Capacity Improvements (Council District 8)

N-8.4

Atlanta BeltLine Trail from Dellwood Dr to Peachtree Rd (US 19/SR 9) – Multi-use Path

From a Midtown point of view, interesting among this list is the new street connection of 8th Street between Monroe Drive and Ponce de Leon Avenue at the Ponce City Market. In the past neighborhood residents and the Midtown Neighbors’ Association have opposed a similar connection into the Virginia-Highland neighborhood.

The T-SPLOST project would appear to connect Monroe and Ponce by allowing 8th to extend through the Midtown Promenade parcel. It currently comes to a dead end in the Midtown Promenade parking lot.

From the MNA website:

The Midtown Alliance had once proposed to make this street two-way continuous through the Midtown Improvement District. Residents fought this change, arguing that the residential character of the street and its’ narrowness made this street a potential problem for higher densities of traffic. Of greatest concern is the location of Grady High School on 8th Street and the potential for student injuries/fatalities due to higher densities of traffic. Because the extension of 8th Street into Virginia Highlands would make it a perceived alternative to 10th Street for east/west traffic, these same concerns exist. Moreover, many of the residents on this narrow street must also use on street parking.

Are you in favor of connecting Monroe and Ponce via 8th St.?

Dave July 11, 2012 at 03:38 PM
If this means connecting 8th through the Midtown Place Shopping Center (Wholefoods), then YES. This connection should have happened when that shopping center was built!
Steve Gower July 11, 2012 at 04:33 PM
I saw a fantastic proposal back in 2009 (Beltline Sub-area 6) that would propose pushing over all that suburban-style misdevelopment, and replace it with something more pedestrian-friendly, and would cut down on land under-utilization and improve connectivity between Midtown and Va-Hi. Part of the sub-area 6 proposal called for a street connecting Monroe and Ponce that would diffuse some of the Monroe Drive traffic that bottlenecks as it approaches Ponce. I would say this is a great proposal if they would do more to steer northbound traffic up Monroe rather than dumping it directly into the neighborhood - that should be a small fix to this plan. I attached a graphic from the Sub-area 6 master plan.
Hunt Archbold (Editor) July 11, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Thanks for attaching the graphic, Steve.
Stacy July 12, 2012 at 01:47 AM
YES! I often drive from Midtown Promenade to the Home Depot/Whole Foods shopping area, which are right next to each other, but I have to battle traffic to go all the way around.
KamdenATL July 12, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Yes, I like the idea - but only if they can also improve the pedestrian portions of 8th Street along that corridor (i.e. sidewalks on both sides, bike lanes).
Joe_Harris July 12, 2012 at 03:33 AM
We need a comprehensive plan that will solve Atlanta's traffic problems while also providing options as well. With the passage of this referendum we will have road improvement at critical projects, increased options for transit and bike and pedestrian paths as well.
David Sims July 12, 2012 at 07:51 PM
Abosolutely NOT!!! As a homeowner on 8th Street, I vehemently oppose any change that would increase traffic on the street. 8th is one of the more narrow streets in the neighborhood and there is street parking, necessary for many residents, on one side. We already deal with expressway level speeding at times...and that is with traffic calming (speed bumps) in place. With the steep grade of the street, there are already safety concerns and the additional traffic that a "cut-through" would create would increase those concerns exponentially. I can certainly relate to the convenience factor of being able to get to Home Depot/Whole Foods, etc without having to go via Ponce, but, please, consider those of us that live on the this street!!
Steve Gower July 12, 2012 at 08:04 PM
As I have said before, I still feel this is a great idea, but as David points out, something needs to be done about not dumping traffic directly into the neighborhood. I have uploaded another graphic that shows in red how the flow should go - steering the northbound traffic up Monroe rather than straight onto 8th. This new street should not be an extension of 8th Street at all. With that tweak, a new street or avenue, but not a road, would be an improvement to the area. With the right kind of development it would give the neighborhood a more urban feel.
Sara Van Beck July 12, 2012 at 10:43 PM
I am greatly concerned about the volume of traffic that will cut thru along side, if not all the way around, Grady HS. When the Vice Principal has had his foot run over by cut-thru traffic whilst managing morning traffic, it's a sure indicator traffic is already a serious problem. People speed by stopped school busses, insisting they never realized the run of 4 busses was there to begin with (which the APD officer had a hard time accepting). The gridlock around the school in the mornings on 8th St by folks coming off Monroe looking to cut the 10th St corner is just appalling. That said. How many parking spots will be effectively lost to two-way traffic thru the back end of the Midtown Promenade as well as the Sembler developments, because it will be too dangerous for folks to access the spots alongside the west-side retaining walls? Think about it - those spots, esp. along the Whole Foods stretch, are regularly almost full. How safe would you feel backing out into thru-traffic from those parking spaces? Those two places are already madhouses of no parking spots much of the time, the overflow regularly going into the neighborhoods. On one hand, running a new road to alleviate Ponce/Monroe for two rush-hours a day makes some sense. On the other hand i think it's a case of unintended consequences, and like most City projects isn't really thought out in the least.
Steve Gower July 13, 2012 at 12:36 AM
If they even build such a road it would likely necessitate total redevelopment of both Midtown Promenade and the Coro property (Home Depot, Whole Foods, etc.). As you pointed out, there is barely enough parking for what's there now. The best redevelopment would emphasize residential properties such as those in the pictures uploaded to this article, and some shops along the street comparable to the restaurants and the smaller stuff in both of those shopping centers. While the massive Ponce City Market could probably take in Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, the other big boxes would likely be pushed out. Where the parking spaces there now probably turn over 50 times per day each, residential redevelopment would only mean about 3-4 trips per day each for about the same number or maybe slightly less number of spaces. And with the reduction of big boxes less traffic would come around at all, and then the bottle neck along Monroe would be diffused onto the new street connecting Monroe and Ponce. And then the Beltline, once it ever gets here, would reduce traffic even further. Not to mention that a redeveloped area would be more pedestrian-friendly, rather than the stressful experience of dodging cars as when I walk my dog to Petsmart or Staples...
clancey July 13, 2012 at 10:29 AM
Have to remember that all of this is dependent upon the T-SPLOST passing on July 31st.
James July 13, 2012 at 09:52 PM
"Moreover, many of the residents on this narrow street must also use on street parking." Its hilarious how people in Midtown complain about parking in any newly built structure and want everything transit oriented, and then the MNA opposes a plan because their residents "must" use on-street (resident-only) parking.

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