Atlanta, GA, February 9, 2016 – by Renee Turner, Staff Writer – The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) has been offering grants to local municipalities to encourage cities, counties, and other governmental entities to develop strategies linking land-use development in with transportation. Applications were accepted at the end of 2015 for the Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) – 2016 for both new and supplemental studies.
“Communities apply for many reasons, but [what] they all have in common is that they want to create a blueprint to becoming a more walkable, economically vibrant urban place, where people can live throughout their lives and access jobs, transit, shopping, services, schools and meet daily needs without sitting in traffic,” Amy Goodwin, Principal Planner/LCI Transportation Manager, told The Post.
ARC has just awarded $800,000 in LCI study grants to nine metro Atlanta communities and $12 million in transportation funding to 11 other communities that have previously implements completed LCI studies. The LCI study grants will help recipients develop plans and policies that support the creation of more vibrant, connected places. Once the studies are complete, these communities will become eligible for transportation funding to help implement their plans, stated in the release.
LCI transportation projects awarded funding for 2016 include:
- City of Doraville & City of Chamblee for a Buford Highway Corridor study in the amount of $96,000 that supplements existing plans in both cities and will help develop a plan and process to revitalize Buford Highway, addressing connectivity, affordable housing and pedestrian safety; and,
- MARTA – Brookhaven Station study awarded in the amount of $2,000,000 for the construction of pedestrian improvements, including a new elevator and an improved network of wheelchair ramps. This grant award is issued for 2016-17.
“Improving access to transit and encouraging TOD are high priorities for the LCI program, and the Brookhaven station improvements have been at the top of MARTA’s list for years,” said Jared Lombard, Sr. Principal Planner in ARC’s Community Development Division. “The Buford Highway corridor is regional significant due to its high volume of car, transit and pedestrian traffic. This project addressed safety issues, as well as those around affordable housing and preserving the international identity of the corridor.”
Others grants awarded include:
- Buckhead Community Improvement District, $112,000 for the 15-year plan update bringing the community together to address the generational divide around the future vision of Buckhead and the transportation capacity needed to better connect resident to jobs and amenities amid intense development;
- City of College Park, $80,000 – A major plan update to further develop the aerotropolis concept and leverage funding for a pedestrian bridge connecting the Georgia International Convention Center to downtown College Park;
- City of Hapeville, $80,000 – A major plan update will further advance the aerotropolis concept in the town center;
- Little Five Points Community Improvement District, $104,000 – 10-year plan focusing on managing development pressure around two MARTA stations and the Atlanta BeltLine, and connecting the district across DeKalb Avenue;
- Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District, $100,000 – The plan focuses on Transit Oriented Development around transit station at I-85 and Indian Trail Road;
- Gwinnett Place Community Improvement District, $48,000 – This is a supplement to an existing LCI plan for a trail connecting Gwinnett Place Mall and McDaniel Park;
- City of Jonesboro, $80,000 – This plan will account for a new MARTA bus services in the area while planning for a future rail station in the process; and,
- City of Smyrna, $100,000 – This is a supplement to an existing LCI plan to further study Spring Road and traffic impact associated with SunTrust Park, the future home of the Atlanta Braves.
There were also LCI grants awarded funding for 2016-17 that includes the City of Atlanta, Cobb County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, and MARTA. Visit www.atlantaregional.com/lci to learn more about ARC’s LCI Program.
Ms. Goodwin has managed this year’s application round for the LCI studies, and will continue to manage the LCI Transportation Program including transportation projects, concept/scoping studies for LCI projects. She has since moved to the Transportation, Access and Mobility Division (from the Community Development Division). “Going forward, the studies and applications will be managed by Jared Lombard in Community Development,” Goodwin added.