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Decatur Diary | March 12, 2018

East Lake MARTA Planning Process Concludes with Community Presentation

Representing each of the neighborhoods surrounding the East Lake MARTA Station, over 80 residents turned out February 26 to hear closing recommendations for the area’s future.

What they heard capped six months of broad community participation and input, and detailed how the long-underutilized station might ultimately become a more meaningful “front porch” gathering space and center for adjacent neighbors.

Presented as a series of recommendations, each was rooted in MARTA’s five goals for the process:

  1. Increase ridership and revenue at the the East Lake MARTA Station. 
  2. Make the station a community destination with short-term and long-term solutions. 
  3. Design better connections with adjacent neighborhoods to improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists. 
  4. Create a neighborhood-oriented vision for underused non-residential properties along adjacent corridors. 
  5. Establish a scale for future development that respects and enhances existing neighborhood character.

Making clear that all proposals are limited solely to the MARTA site, the AT&T site, and existing public rights-of-way, and that no single-family home properties are included or necessary, the TSW-led consultant team laid out where we are in the process, what’s gotten us to this point, and where we go from here.

Prominent in the plans was a focus on circulation and connectivity. Toole Design Group illustrated input-driven improvements to area streets to make it easier to walk and bike between nearby neighborhoods and the station — specifically, ideal street designs for Park Place, College Avenue and East Lake Drive.

Ultimately, the presentation unveiled the highest-ranking site concepts emerging from community input. TSW projected 3D computer modeling of what the prevailing concepts could look like at eye-level, which helped give perspective to the scale, massing and building height as it relates to the surrounding neighborhoods and the MARTA Station.

The final half-hour of the meeting was devoted to Q&A, with TSW and representatives from MARTA, City of Atlanta, and City of Decatur on hand to share more knowledge about the visioning process, approval timeline of the LCI plan by the project’s municipal partners, and next steps to be taken by MARTA in the future.

Information kiosks, present throughout the visioning process, were renewed with the final concepts and attendees were able to share any further feedback.

What Happens Next?

On the Decatur front (the project area is located in both the City of Decatur and the City of Atlanta), the proposed plans now enter the standard review and adoption process. The following required meetings are open to the public. All are welcome.

Monday, April 16 | 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Plan Presentation, Decatur City Commission Work Session
City Commission Meeting Room, Decatur City Hall, 509 N. McDonough Street

Tuesday, May 8 | 7:00 p.m.
Plan Presentation, Recommendation by the Decatur Planning Commission
City Commission Meeting Room, Decatur City Hall, 509 N. McDonough Street

Monday, May 21 | 7:30 p.m.
Consideration of Adoption by Decatur City Commission
City Commission Meeting Room, Decatur City Hall, 509 N. McDonough Street

Once approvals are secured from both Decatur and Atlanta, the process of implementation will begin. The anticipated timeline as of this writing is as follows:

  • MARTA issues RFP for development partner (expected to occur within 1 to 3 years after applicable Decatur and Atlanta rezonings are complete)
  • Developer chosen based on multiple factors, including how they plan to meet the goals of the adopted plan
  • ƒImplementation occurs (~3 to 5 years)

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  • Nathan Shaffer

    Very impressive process and plans. Congratulations for all the hard work, forward-looking thought and community input to date! It is exciting to think about a revitalized and vibrant East Lake Marta area, meeting so many important needs. Great to see pedestrian/ bike friendly areas, more green space and affordable housing. I don’t know if solar power was ever discussed, but for many of the rooftop structures, would strongly encourage considering solar installation, perhaps as joint project with Ga Power, if they are interested, but otherwise to continue the Solarize Decatur/Dekalb (and Atlanta) campaigns, and to start to show proof of concept for solar for municipal buildings… Look forward to following/ supporting next phases of the project. Nathan / Decatur