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Decatur Diary | September 18, 2017

Making East Lake MARTA Yours: Visioning process kicks off this month

What happens when the stakeholders of three different municipalities, one transit system, and a variety of business and environmental interests come together to develop a vision for the place they share? We’re about to find out.

Over the past few years you may have noticed MARTA building out some of their transit station areas, such as what’s presently underway at the Avondale station. This reflects their long-term efforts to transition some of their automobile-focused locations from just parking facilities to active neighborhood centers. Among their identified locations is the East Lake station.

Meanwhile, many Decatur residents, particularly in neighborhoods like Lenox Place, Parkwood, and Oakhurst; Dekalb County residents in the southern parts of Druid Hills; and Atlanta residents in Kirkwood and Lake Claire, have voiced an interest in more walkable and bike-able surroundings offering increased local services, recreational amenities, convenient and safe access to transit, and community gathering spaces.

Project study area. Click for larger view.

Project study area. Click for larger view.

These myriad stakeholder ambitions are now converging to form the Make East Lake MARTA Yours initiative, thanks to a $100,000 Livable Centers grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission. Together we’ll develop a vision for the station’s future — from what kinds of new uses would benefit surrounding communities, to what kinds of amenities might be included, to what sort of scale and arrangement best fits the neighborhood, to how access into and out of the area might be made safer and more convenient.

It all kicks off later this month with two public participation opportunities:

KICK-OFF: COMMUNITY ACADEMY and OPEN HOUSE

Monday, September 25 | 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Oakhurst Baptist Church, Fellowship Hall (Room 100), 222 East Lake Drive


Join us as we focus on population density, demographics, transportation, and economic development topics within in the first hour, then allow for input, questions, and comments thereafter.

KICK-OFF: OPEN HOUSE

Tuesday, September 26 | 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Oakhurst Baptist Church, Fellowship Hall (Room 100), 222 East Lake Drive


Identified topics from the Community Academy meeting get repeated here in an open house environment. Drop by, review, and chime in. Expect a half hour to participate.

Background Information

Why has MARTA identified this station?
East Lake is one of MARTA’s lowest utilized stations, ranking 35th out of 38 in average weekday entries. They seek to optimize future use by improving what they call last mile connectivity and station access and increasing adjacent users and uses that meet the criteria of their TOD Guidelines and Policies

What’s the timeline?
This planning process, kicking off with the September 25, 2017 Community Academy, will take place over the next 8 months with finalized recommendations expected by April, 2018. Implementation thereafter remains subject to a variety of factors — MARTA’s priorities as it relates to the sequencing of their various redevelopment efforts, the broader economy, etc. No significant physical change to the station area should be expected for at least a few years.

What’s there now?
The project area focuses on the approximately 8-acre East Lake MARTA Station and encompasses a roughly ½-mile radius around it, including properties in three different jurisdictions: the City of Decatur, City of Atlanta, and unincorporated DeKalb County.
There are 621 parking spaces between the north and south parking lots with approximately 39% parking utilization rate. The study area is presently developed within a commercial corridor with some neighborhood-serving office and retail uses, light industrial uses, religious institutions, and a public elementary school. Otherwise, over 80% of the land area is developed with low density, traditional single-family residences, including several vacant or undeveloped properties.

What if I can’t make the meetings?
No problem. You can continue to follow and comment on the process here on this site, or contact Decatur’s planning director, Angela Threadgill, directly here. Residents of Atlanta and unincorporated Dekalb County should also be sure to share their thoughts with their own elected and staff leadership, and everyone can follow MARTA’s project news here.

 
 

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Ground Rules: We encourage respectful community conversation around planning and development issues in the City of Decatur. Participants are asked to login via Facebook, Twitter or Google, or create a user account through Disqus. To keep the conversation on track, contributions may be moderated — not on the basis of their ideas but in terms of relevance and decorum. Generally speaking, the Golden Rule applies.

 
 
 
 


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