By John Schaffner

Through the end of the year, there will be no more  work “in the street” as part of the Peachtree Boulevard transformation project from the Buckhead MARTA station to Roxboro Road, Buckhead Community Improvement District Executive Director Jim Durrett said at a business meeting Nov. 11.

Speaking at the breakfast meeting of the Buckhead Business Association, Durrett said the pause through the holidays is intended to avoid traffic nightmares that could hurt business at malls, hotels and shops along Peachtree.

Merchants and hotels along Peachtree in the construction area—including Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza malls—were promised the holiday pause during initial negotiations for support of the road widening and streetscape work.

When Phase 2 of the Buckhead CID’s $40 million makeover of Peachtree Road is completed in early 2012, the result will be a “signature boulevard” 1.5 miles long in the heart of Buckhead’s retail, office, hotel and residential district, he said.

Durrett called it, and other projects being done by the CID a “retrofitting” of Buckhead to “create walkable urbanism.”

Other CID projects that Durrett discussed at the BBA breakfast meeting included:

New zoning for the Village area: The new zoning ordinance (SPI-9) which the CID developed along with its partners and the city of Atlanta, covers the area west of Piedmont Road and north of Pharr Road. It was adopted by Atlanta City Council on Oct. 4 and sets the stage for a more walkable, urban community, said Durrett.

Village area streetscape transformation: The CID has allocated $2 million to be matched by $2 million from the Woodruff Foundation for the work, which initially will be focused around the Charlie Loudermilk triangle park at the intersection of Peachtree and Roswell roads.

Piedmont Road improvements: The planning phase is competed for the areas between Peachtree Road and I-85 to the south and from Peachtree Road north to Piedmont’s intersection with Habersham and Roswell roads.

Studying International District creation: The CID has been studying various aspects of creating an International District, which might attract development near the Atlanta International School.

Footbridge over Ga. 400: The final design and engineering has been completed on a $24 million pedestrian bridge to span Ga. 400 from the Tower Place area to Stratford Road and will have direct access from both sides to the MARTA rail station without having to walk to Peachtree Road.

Greenspace Action Plan: The heart of Buckhead’s commercial district (City Council District 7) needs more parks, Durrett said, and an effort is under way by the CID to identify opportunities for additional parks and open spaces and to create an implementation plan.

Expand the CID down Peachtree: The CID is looking to expand its focus area south on Peachtree Road from the Village and Pharr Road to Brookwood.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.