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URBAN DESIGN POLICY: FIELD STUDY TWO Atlanta, GA DEKALB AVENUE: Spruce St. to Krog St.

IMPROVEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS Mackenzie Madden • CP 6834 • Fall 2012


EXISTING CONDITIONS: Traffic

DeKalb Avenue serves 15,700 vehicles per day and experiences 2.1 fatal accidents per 100 million VMT. The corridor is a straight shot from Downtown to Decatur and acts as a point of entry to Cabbagetown, Little Five Points, and Candler Park. Sources: Atlanta BeltLine Subarea 4 & 5 Master Plans, Google Maps (2012)

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STRATEGIES: Traffic

Both the BeltLine and the Connect Atlanta Plan call for a bike lane to be installed. The lane would be reduced from a three lane road with a reversible middle lane, to a two-lane road with bike lanes. Additionally, more crosswalks need to be installed and all amputated sidewalks should be continued. Due to the connection points the corridor offers, working with the PATH Foundation could assist in making it an official trail. Sources: Atlanta BeltLine Subarea 4 & 5 Master Plans

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EXISTING CONDITIONS: Public Art

The Krog Street Art Tunnel is a popular form of public art in the community. Graffiti covers most of the walls and signs. Slabs of concrete surround the intersection near DeKalb and Krog.

Source: Author, Flickr.com, Google Maps (2012)

There are 11 utility poles in a 0.2 mile stretch of the corridor.

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STRATEGIES: Public Art To build on the momentum of Art Tunnel, the concrete slabs , as well as the MARTA support pillars can serve as canvas for public art. This can unite the community, add vibrancy to the area , draw people to the area, and allow the community to have a personal stake in the corridor. In addition to traditional wall art and murals, unique forms of public art can be incorporated. One example is guerilla knitting, a form of art from Atlanta’s Knitterati (examples shown to the left) that can be used on the high number of utility poles.

Sources: Spool Spectrum

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EXISTING CONDITIONS: Activity Theft

Robbery

Burglary

Pink arrows denote entrances to parcels adjacent to DeKalb Avenue

There are no parcels with active frontage on DeKalb Avenue in this section of the corridor.

Crime is surprisingly low in this area, compared to other locations in the city. There is an abundance of overgrowth. Several trees hang in the pedestrian zone. Grass and weeds come through the sidewalk and cracks in the asphalt.

Sources: Author, Fulton County Tax Assessor Data (2012), SpotCrime

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STRATEGIES: Activity

Railroad cars can be converted into pop-up spaces that will serve to activate the space and bring life to the other side of DeKalb . Instead of seeing a rail yard in the distance, you could see a fruit stand (pictured), a museum, a public restroom, a restaurant, a boutique, a holiday store, or a gallery space - the possibilities are endless.

In the future, any change of ownership in parcels would be asked to create frontage along DeKalb.

Increasing foot traffic will control overgrowth and providing manicured greenspace will invite pets to use the space. Adding amenities such as waste bins (including pet waste bins) and benches will make the space more inviting. Examples to the right are living benches (sometimes called arbosculpture), which are visually intriguing and incorporate greenspace.

Sources: http://1800recycling.com/2010/11/repurposed-recycling-railroa-cars/

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EXISTING CONDITIONS: Rail as a barrier

Crossing the MARTA and Norfolk Southern rail line is difficult. From Krog Street heading east, it is 0.7 miles to the Inman Park-Reynoldstown MARTA bridge and 1.5 miles to the Moreland underpass. Heading west from Krog Street, it 0.5 miles to the Boulevard underpass and 0.8 miles to the Grant Street underpass. The BeltLine is disconnected by Hulsey Yard.

3 inches = 0.5 miles

Sources: Google Maps (2012)

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STRATEGIES: Rail as a barrier Building a pedestrian bridge from the existing BeltLine trail and Waverly Way will shorten the distance bewteen rail crossings and allow the BeltLine to continue over Hulsey Yard. The bridge can be used as a viewing station for train changes and connections since it rosses a large swath of the yard. To perpetuate a railroad “theme� the bridge can be made out of old railroad ties - see below.

Bridge would need to be 920 feet in length.

Sources: Atlanta BeltLine Subarea 4 & 5 Master Plans, Google Maps 2012, AxionIntl.com

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EXISTING CONDITIONS: MARTA The decibel level when a MARTA train goes by is 96.1. This is the level at which sustained exposure can result in hearing loss and is approaching the levels of motorcycles, power mowers, and power saws.

Sources: Google Maps (2012), SPL Meter, Reliability Direct, OSHA

This section of the corridor is not used by the MARTA bus line.

There is little light throughout the day because of the MARTA rail overhead.

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STRATEGIES: MARTA Rail dampers can be installed on the track lines to lessen the noise. To further contain the noise, the tracks and train can be encapsulated in a glass structure that is visually intriguing and allows for the penetration of sunlight. This method has been used in Chicago and in Frankfurt.

Sources: Atlanta BeltLine Subarea 4 & 5 Master Plans

Solar lights can collect light from the bright side of the tracks and illuminate the corridor without putting additional strain on the grid.

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EXISTING CONDITIONS: Aesthetics The Hulsey Yard does not provide any visual stimulation. The landscaping is poor, with overgrowth in the sidewalks, only dirt directly under the MARTA and only weeds and a small ditch separating the sidealk from the rail line.

Sources: Google Maps (2012)

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STRATEGIES: Aesthetics

A living wall can be constructed to cover up Hulsey Yard. To perpetuate a railroad “theme� the bridge can be made out of old railroad ties. They take 1/4 the labor to install compared to traditional fencing. Other examples of fencing made out of railroad ties are above. The best plants for livings walls are dracaena, philodendrons, ivy, and spider plants. Sources: http://www.greatamericanhomeplans.com/railroadties.htm, http://www.cleanairgardening.com/houseplants.html

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CONCLUSION The overall goals of the various improvement strategies mentioned are to: •Make DeKalb Avenue an exciting place for pedestrians, bicyclists, and cars day and night •Activate the space to bring more eyes on the street •Protect the local residents and users of the corridor from the aural and visual blight

Implementation of these design and use changes will acheive the end-use goals. Bringing activity to the side of DeKalb under the MARTA line will encourage usage. The corridor will maintain it’s “funky” charm by embracing it’s history and celebrating railroad characteristics by incorporating it into the design. Railroad elements can be used in construction of the train-viewing bridge, as the backdrop of the living wall, as repurposed pop-up spaces, or in amenities such as benches. A glass MARTA encapsulation will give the area a modern feel, and public art and vegetation will make it a lively and inviting space. Because DeKalb Avenue lies at the dividing line of BeltLine Subareas 4 and 5, little planning has been attributed to this specific corridor. Completing this project would entail working with Atlanta BeltLine Inc., City of Atlanta, Invest Atlanta, Norfolk Southern, MARTA, the PATH Foundation, and NPU M to ensure financial success and community buy-in. Sources: Atlanta BeltLine Subarea 4 & 5 Master Plans

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END-CONCEPTS

Sources: Atlanta BeltLine Subarea 4 & 5 Master Plans

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BEFORE & AFTER

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DeKalb Avenue Proposal