The Buckhead Community Improvement District’s plan to add bicycle lanes on Peachtree Road from Maple Drive to Shadowlawn Avenue has changed. The BCID now plans to add the bike lanes down Maple Drive and connect them to existing bike lanes on Pharr Road.
The change was announced at the BCID board’s monthly meeting on May 24. The reason given at the meeting was that appraised cost of right of way for construction on Peachtree Road came back higher than expected. The appraised cost is $8 million.
“That seems like the logical solution,” Jim Durrett, the executive director of the BCID said at the meeting.
Darion Dunn, the director of capital improvements and planning for the BCID, did not say how much higher that appraisal was than what had been anticipated. Later in an email, Dunn said a reason for the change was due to the Georgia Department of Transportation eliminating bike lanes that were planned to run on Peachtree Road south of the BCID’s planned bike lanes.
The bike lanes are part of the third phase of the BCID’s Peachtree Transformation project, which is aimed at making Peachtree Road more accessible for pedestrians. The project includes granite curbing and medians, trees, bike lanes, wide sidewalks, street furniture, and dedicated left turn lanes at signaled intersections, according to the BCID website. Other parts of the third phase will move forward, including adding turn lanes and medians.
Members of the board asked if they’ll be able to see updated plans for Peachtree Road, which they will be able to, Dunn said at the meeting. None are available yet, however, he said later in an email.
“When GDOT, [the Atlanta Regional Commission] and city of Atlanta approve the proposed Phase 3 design revision, we can prepare a schematic of the new design,” Dunn said.
When this phase of the Peachtree Transformation project was conceived, which is between Maple and Shadowlawn, GDOT had plans to create bike lanes continuing south from Shadowlawn to Deering Road, which is north of Atlantic Station in Midtown, Dunn said.
“The relocation of the Peachtree Phase 3 bike lanes is a result of GDOT’s decision not to continue the bike lanes on Peachtree south of this project,” Dunn said in an email.
That change was announced in December 2015 as a result of public input that was strongly against GDOT’s plan to add bike lanes on Peachtree Road.
GDOT said at the time it received more than 2,000 comments about the project, with over 70 percent opposing the bike lanes. Among the opponents was the Buckhead Coalition, a group of business leaders.
Sam Massell, the president of the Buckhead Coalition, said his group still believes bike lanes should not be on Peachtree.
“We’ve had the position for some time that bike lanes are not appropriate for Peachtree, although we do support bike lanes,” Massell said.
Without GDOT’s bike lanes continuing south of the BCID’s project, the BCID’s lanes would have just ended and had nothing to connect to, Dunn said.
The BCID’s new plan is to add bike lanes on Maple Drive, across East Paces Ferry Road and connecting to Pharr Road. With this plan, bikers can now use bike lanes from Pharr, connect to Maple and continue on Peachtree toward Roxboro Road, which is near Phipps Plaza, Dunn said. Bike lanes on Peachtree Road from Maple to Roxboro were previously installed by the BCID during the first two phases of the Peachtree Transformation project.
GDOT’s current plan will gear up later this year. From Shadowlawn down to Deering Road, GDOT will be doing work between the curbs including restriping the road, Durrett said. The work outside the curbs, including streetscape work, will be done by the BCID. The board approved $3.5 million in funds at the May 24 meeting to commit to the streetscape work pending being awarded federal grants.
The announcement that the plans for bike lanes on Peachtree Road are being relocated came at the same meeting that Denise Starling, the executive director of Livable Buckhead, announced that bike share stations will be coming to Buckhead. The stations will be installed in Tower Place, which is located at the intersection of Lenox and Piedmont Roads, and in Piedmont Center, which is on the opposite side of Lenox from Tower Place.
Starling does not yet have firm dates for their installation, she said in an email.
The stations will be part of the same Relay Bike Share program serving the rest of Atlanta, Starling said. The program began with 100 bikes in June 2016, and recently expanded to 500 bikes in April. No stations have been installed in Buckhead.