The desire for a public gathering space as well as connectivity and pedestrian accessibility were heard loud and clear through community meetings and an online survey and are key components of MARTA’s planned development on Peachtree Road.
At a June 16 MARTA Citizen Review Board meeting to go over plans for the proposed mixed-use development at the Brookhaven-Oglethorpe MARTA station, developers and MARTA representatives said they have been taking citizen input seriously as they continue to work to meet the demands and needs of the community.
Brookhaven City Center Partners, a joint venture of Integral and Transwestern, are the developers of the project. Working with them are architects from Cooper Carry and traffic analysts from Kimley-Horn.
“This is to be a visual gateway from Peachtree Road as people travel,” said Cooper Carry Landscape Architect Gary Warner of the proposed development considered to be in the heart of Brookhaven. “Here’s an opportunity to announce an entry to MARTA and also to let people know something special is happening in Brookhaven.”
The core of the development is to be a three-fourth acre park — the Town Green — where residents can gather for picnics, yoga, frisbee or other activities, Warner said.
Another major issue is traffic and how to deal with the congestion on Peachtree Road, specifically at North Druid Hills Road and Dresden Drive. Rob Ross, project manager with Kimley-Horn, said his company has been focusing on these two intersections as part of its work on the MARTA development. A traffic study completed in March will not be publicly available for at least another two weeks, he said. Because Peachtree Road is a state road, approval must be obtained from the Georgia Department of Transportation.
A draft plan for Peachtree Road and Dresden Drive:
• Add a left turn lane eastbound on Brookhaven drive;
• Do some restriping on Dresden Drive where it goes underneath the railroad tracks to add another lane to go westbound toward Peachtree Road;
• Add two turn lanes from Dresden Drive to Peachtree Road;
• And to alter the long right turn lane that runs the length of the MARTA property by restriping and narrowing lanes to provide for three through lanes to go northbound on Peachtree Road.
A draft plan for the Peachtree Road and North Druid Hills Road intersection includes:
• Add two southbound left turn lanes from Peachtree Road to turn onto North Druid Hills Road.
• Using the right turn lane that goes into the shop center and converting it into a through lane and doing some widening on Peachtree Road.
Debbie Frank, Senior Development Project Manager for Transit Oriented Development at MARTA, also gave a rundown of the online survey conducted from April 21 through May 12. This was to give the community another option to provide feedback in addition to several community meetings held this year.
Frank said 565 people responded with 88 percent of them being Brookhaven residents. Of the respondents, 74 percent were 45 years old and younger. Twenty-nine percent of the respondents said they use MARTA to attend entertainment events, go to the airport and also to travel to work.
Over 350 of the respondents said they wanted the proposed development to be more pedestrian friendly. The second most popular request was to have open green spaces and the third most popular request was for more transportation options, including bikes.
More than 400 respondents said open space/greenspace was most important for the planned development, followed by neighborhood serving retail and restaurants. Parking was also in the top three — many people said to not do away with long-term parking, Frank said.
An “overwhelming” number of people would like to see the Brookhaven library relocated in the MARTA development, Frank said.
When it came to major concerns, 54 percent of respondents said traffic, followed by density. Frank said 11 percent of respondents said they had no concerns.
One more community meeting is set for Wednesday, June 22, at 5:30 p.m. in Lupton Hall at Oglethorpe University. After that, the next step is for MARTA to submit its rezoning request to the city Planning Commission in early July. The city staff would then have 60 days to review the plans and make recommendations for the Planning Commission, making September the earliest the Planning Commission could review the request.
If approved, the project would break ground in mid-2017.