The Atlanta City Council was presented Friday with an alternate design plan by the Department of Public Works in effort to maintain the current functionality and connectively of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive between the city’s west side and Downtown. MLK Jr. Drive is being realigned to make way for the new Atlanta Falcons stadium. An alternate plan was called for at the behest of Councilmember Andre Dickens after community outrage at the plan to alter the historic street.

According to a media release, any alternate plan is contingent and subject to the availability of funding and the successful negotiations of any necessary agreements with any relevant property owners.

“A few weeks ago, I sponsored a resolution to preserve the connectivity of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive that my colleagues on the Atlanta City Council unanimously supported,” said Dickens. “We collaboratively worked with the administration and the Falcons to agree on this vision. I want to thank the administration for presenting a substantive alternative today and promising to come back to council with updates in a timely manner. I believe that engaging in a transparent and collaborative process should yield the outcomes that best serve the community.”

“We are committed to ensuring the connectivity between the west side and downtown that Martin Luther King Jr. Drive currently provides – connectivity of access, connectivity of opportunity, and connectivity to our heritage as the home of the Civil Rights Movement,” he added.

Prior to Friday’s plan, the current MLK Jr. Drive would  dead-end at Northside Drive west of the new stadium.

On the east side of the stadium, MLK Jr. Drive would bubble out south of the stadium and merge into what is now Mitchell Street. Then newly-named MLK Jr. Drive would continue along the Mitchell Street alignment west of Northside Drive for several blocks before re-merging with MLK Jr. Drive downtown.

That plan drew criticism from residents and several college presidents at the Atlanta University Center including Spelman, Morehouse, Clark Atlanta University, and Morehouse School of Medicine.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.