(ATLANTA, Ga.) One of the busiest roads in Decatur will be receiving improved sidewalks and two lanes dedicated to bike riders.
With this change, the road, Church Street, will be reduced by two vehicle lanes to accommodate the bike lanes.
Members of the city’s commission took a vote last Monday to permanently reduce the street from four lanes to two lanes. The area will add new sidewalks and one-way bike lanes on both sides of the road. These new additions will also connect with the Commerce Drive cycle track, a project that was completed in early 2020.
Some residents were able to speak on the changes coming to the area, some in favor and recalling how difficult it is to bike on Church Street while riding alongside heavy traffic.
Others expressed concerns that the changes would, in turn, worsen traffic and contribute to congestion in the area. One resident said, “My concern is the bottleneck of traffic. It's already very hard to get in and out. It's going to make people cut through the neighborhoods more than they already are."
Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon said adding pedestrian access and improved vehicle transportation don't always go hand-in-hand.
"The more you do to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety and accessibility, the bigger impact it has on motorists and vehicle transportation," Saxon said. "I don't know if there's any way to avoid that conflict."
The improvements and additions will be a total of $3.2 million with the city of Decatur providing $595,000 toward the project from its capital improvement fund. The Georgia Department of Transportation will fund the remaining $2.63 million.
The project is expected to start construction in July and will take between 18 months to 24 months.