Doraville, GA, October 3, 2016 – by Renee Turner, Staff Writer – Integral Group, one of the developers of the former GM Plant mixed-use project in Doraville, a.k.a. Assembly, has taken on a roadway challenge that involves multi-modal transportation and creating a street by extending Park Avenue.
With a goal to curb traffic congestion in the eventual development, Eric Pinckney, Integral’s Assembly Project Executive, indicates the new Park Avenue Covered Street (PACS) is a roadway project that will be a vital part of the entire site. Perkins Eastman, designers for the master plan, describes Park Avenue as “the glue that connects all paths” within the project’s 165-acres.
Assembly’s streets and roadways are estimated to consist of 26,379 linear feet (LF) of new streets/roadways and 5,385 LF of upgraded streets and roadways. This new street design is estimated to be 365 LF of covered street with 240 LF of open street approaching New Peachtree Road.
PACS is expected to have an impact on nearly every mode of transportation including automotive, public transit, rail, cycling, walking – as well as easier access to DeKalb Peachtree and Atlanta Hartsfield airports – while, providing connectivity easing traffic in other parts of Doraville, and neighboring municipalities.
After extension and alignment with the existing roadway, Park Avenue will travel underneath the Norfolk Southern and MARTA train lines and connect the site with Downtown Doraville and the Doraville MARTA station. The street project will contain a 4-lane roadway (two in each direction) with both sides having 10 to 15-foot sidewalks depending on the amount of available right-of-way, and bicycle lanes.
The connectivity effort is expected to reducing travel time to metro-Atlanta access points by providing an alternate route and help to encourage MARTA ridership. Some of the expected benefits of the new PACS project includes allowing:
- The creation of the Assembly site access from Downtown Doraville and Buford Highway;
- Reducing travel time by removing local trips from Peachtree Industrial Boulevard and I-285;
- Increasing MARTA ridership by approximate 30,000+ per day;
- Providing new connection to Peachtree Road; and,
- Being located approximately two miles from Peachtree DeKalb Airport and Doraville MARTA Station connection to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Given the impact the new Assembly street will have on the area, there are a number of stakeholders providing input on the project, not only the Development Team and the City of Doraville, but also Georgia Department of Transportation, Norfolk Southern, MARTA, DeKalb County, and Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC).
Pinckney told The Post, PACS “will provide the connectivity to MARTA that is crucial to maximizing the transit oriented development (TOD) potential to Assembly,” and referred to the ARC who states that from 2015 to 2040, the 20 county Atlanta Region is forecasted to add 2.5 million residents. Assembly is an opportunity to create a modern live-work-play community that will provide a high quality of life for thousands of people. It will also help alleviate some of the road congestion by providing multi-modal transportation options to north perimeter commuters.
Project Timeframe and Milestones
Project plans began in November of 2015 with completion of the pre-conceptual phase, feasibility studies, a Construction Alternative Study, Preliminary Engineering and the Right-of-Way acquisition. “Both design and construction has started,” says Pinckney. “We are targeting completion of Park Avenue Covered Street in 2018 and all of the public improvements no later than 2025. The full build out of the site will likely continue for over 10 to 15 years.”
The PACS is estimated to cost between $50 to $60 million of an estimated $180 million public improvement budget. The entire private development is estimated to exceed $2 billion in less than 20 years with all private construction at the site including office, retail and residential buildings funded by private funds. “Park Avenue Covered Street, along with other public streets, sidewalks, parks, and public utilities (like storm water systems) will be funded predominately by the property taxes the tenants at Assembly will pay over the next decade(s)”, Pinckney said. Along with architects, Perkins Eastman, there are a number of design consultants and contractors involved in the build out of the project.
Note: Some information for Park Avenue Covered Street Project was obtained from an State Road & Tollway Authority/Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank grant application that was not awarded, where the West Avenue Project on the Assembly site was awarded.