Under Plan, Downtown Atlanta Might Have A New Look In 15 Years

September 14,2017

Source: Miranda Hawkins, 90.1 WABE

Imagine downtown Atlanta having 10,000 more trees and being better connected with welcoming spaces. Those are some of the changes outlined in the first draft of the Downtown Atlanta Master Plan that was unveiled Tuesday night.

It’s the first time in a decade the city of Atlanta and Central Atlanta Progress, downtown’s development organization, are updating the master plan. It’s basically a guide for zoning and land-use policies in upcoming years.

Scott Page, one of the people leading the project, says parts of the plan are more aspirational, like converting Courtland Street, a main thoroughfare in downtown, from a one-way to a two-way road. Other ideas, like renovating “blah-zas” (plazas), are more manageable.

“Those are small initiatives that you can start one street at a time, one plaza at a time, and over time, it adds up to a really substantial change,” Page said.

Emma French, a research scientist at Georgia Tech, said she likes how much thought planners have put into the proposal but:

“Every single step of the way, we need to make sure we're not pushing people out who have been living here,” French said.

The draft is broken down into six key concepts with 25 recommendations. A final draft will be completed next month and go before the City Council in November. Wednesday night, people were able to mark with circle stickers what recommendations they think are most important.

Page said the team met with more than 2,000 people while crafting the proposal and held 125 sessions.