North Druid Hills Road in DeKalb County awarded $120,000 from the Atlanta Regional Commission

This week, I received the following update on North Druid Hills Road and grant money from our local yahoo group (Laurel Ridge Yahoo Group) and wanted to share it. As a resident who lives off of N. Druid Hills Road, I know we’ll appreciate any efforts to go green and make Atlanta and Decatur neighborhoods more walkable places ! I’m still waiting to hear more information on the new Toco Hill Town Center Proposal (I haven’t found any updates on it since the community meeting I attended last year). Onto what we DO know!…

DeKalb County’s North Druid Hills Road Corridor will be the focus of a $120,000 study grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission.

The ARC recently announced that it is awarding six communities, including North Druid Hills, a total of $596,000 in grants to promote quality growth and enhance livability throughout the region.

The grants, issued through the ARC’s award-winning Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) program, are also being awarded to the cities of Atlanta, Griffin, Winder and Loganville, along with Cobb, and Henry counties. According to the ARC, these LCI grants will help the local governments design plans that will make these communities or corridors more mobile, walkable, livable and connected to a range of
services. Once plans are completed, these communities are then eligible for a larger pot of federal funding to implement their projects.

The study area for the North Druid Hills project encompasses a 2.5-mile stretch of the North Druid Hills corridor from Buford Highway to Clairmont Road. Over the past 60 years, North Druid Hills Road has evolved from a rural byway, to a suburban arterial, to a regional
commuter corridor between east metro Atlanta and employment centers in the Clifton Corridor and Buckhead. Locations along the corridor are facing substantial redevelopment pressure driven by the area’s centrality within the region, household income, density and a strong and growing local employment base. The LCI study will bring a shared vision for future direction in this corridor, taking into account the public interest and other opinions on the proper extent and location of new development and redevelopment. This study will directly address the density and transportation dilemmas facing residential and commercial developers. It will also look at traffic patterns, transportation alternatives and the need for educated involvement in decision-making along the North Druid Hills corridor.

“The LCI program has been transformative for many communities across the metro region,” said ARC Chairman Sam Olens. “LCI has helped these areas become quality magnets for residents and businesses alike, acting as a catalyst for positive change all around them.”

Since the first LCI grants were awarded in 2000, more than 84,506 residential units, 20 million square feet of commercial space and 35 million square feet of office space are either planned, under construction or complete in these areas. Region-wide, 67 percent of
all new office space has been built within LCI areas. And, LCI areas have attracted 8.5 percent of all new residential units and 21 percent of all new commercial development built in the region.

The goal of the LCI program, created in 1999, is to help local governments devise strategies that reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality by better connecting homes, shops and offices, enhancing streetscapes and pedestrian amenities and improving access to transit options. With this latest round of grants, LCI has assisted 96 communities with more than $140 million in grant awards.

The other five 2009 LCI grant winners are:

  • City of Atlanta with Cobb County (DL Hollowell-Veterans Memorial Corridor) $120,000
  • City of Griffin (West Griffin Activity Center) $80,000
  • City of Winder (Winder Town Center) $96,000
  • City of Loganville (Loganville Town Center) $80,000
  • Henry County (Hudson Bridge-Jonesboro Road Connector Activity Center) $100,000

The LCI program recently received two national awards: In January of this year, the American Planning Association (APA) bestowed its
National Planning Excellence Award for Implementation to the LCI
program. The award, considered by U.S. planners to be the
profession’s highest honor, will be presented at the association’s
annual conference in Minneapolis in April. In November, 2008, the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized LCI with its 2008 National Award for Smart Growth.

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