Livable Buckhead has received grants to study affordable housing in Buckhead and a new Ga. 400 interchange, said Denise Starling, the group’s executive director.

The organization received a $90,000 grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission to study affordable housing from the angle of reducing traffic congestion, Starling said at the Buckhead Business Association March 1 meeting where she gave an update on Livable Buckhead’s programs and initiatives.

“We know that our traffic problem is a result of our housing,” Starling said. The master plan, “Buckhead REdeFINED” found that the lack of affordable housing means some of the Buckhead workforce can’t live the area and must commute in, causing more traffic congestion. 

Livable Buckhead Executive Director Denise Starling.

Starling is putting together a steering committee to guide the housing study that will have members from different backgrounds including zoning, finance, real estate and education, she said. A request for proposals will be issued to find a consultant team, who will lead community meetings in the coming months, she said.

Livable Buckhead recently received funding from the ARC to fund a study on a new Ga. 400 interchange at East Paces Ferry Road, Starling said. The idea for a new interchange came out discussions had when making Buckhead’s master plan.

The new interchange would address the challenge that there is only one access point to Ga. 400 in Buckhead. People whose destination is farther south than Lenox Road still have to take that exit and take local roads back down to their destination, causing worse traffic, Starling said.

The idea is controversial and is in the plan as a concept, not a recommendation, Starling said. The ARC grant will go toward funding a feasibility study to see if the new interchange would work, she said.

“At this level of planning, it looks like a good idea, but we’ve got to get to the next level to make sure it would achieve the things we think it would achieve,” she said.

Livable Buckhead also works to increase green space in Buckhead and has been developing new parks along PATH400, a multi-use trail that runs along Ga. 400 and one of the organization’s major projects.

One of those parks is McClatchey Park, a five-acre park adjacent to PATH400 and Loridans Drive. Park Pride is coordinating the design, and that work will begin in the coming weeks, Starling said. Public meetings and meetings with neighbors will be held to get community input, she said.